PONTA DELGADA, SAO MIGUEL, ACORES — Reverend Roberto de Serpa, 83, senior priest of the Diocese of Providence, died January 9 in Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, Açores.
Born in Santa Cruz das Flores, Açores, he was the son of the late Antonio C. and Maria A. Serpa, he attended elementary and secondary schools in his home town.
In preparation for the priesthood, he attended college and major seminary in the Açores and on the Portuguese mainland. He was ordained a priest on July 7, 1946 in Lisbon, Portugal, by Cardinal Manuel G. Cerejeira.
Father Serpa served as Chancellor and the Secretary of the Bishop of Angra in the Açores from 1946 to 1955; and from 1955 until 1975, as pastor of Santa Barbara Church, Terceira, Açores.
In 1975, he came to the Diocese of Providence and served as chaplain of Rhode Island and Roger Williams hospitals in Providence and as assistant pastor in several Portuguese parishes, including St. Francis Xavier, East Providence (1976-80); Our Lady of the Rosary, Providence (1980-82); Our Lady of Fatima, Cumberland (1982-87); and St. Elizabeth, Bristol (1987-89). He also celebrated Mass for the Portuguese-speaking parishioners of St. Matthew Church, Cranston.
On September 2, 1983, Father Serpa was incardinated into the Diocese of Providence and because of poor eyesight, he retired as a senior priest on April 1, 1989. In his retirement, Father Serpa returned to Terceira in the Açores. Recently, he lived in a nursing home in Ponta Delgada.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated in the Açores. A memorial Mass will be offered for the repose of his soul on February 7 at St. Francis Xavier Church, 81 North Carpenter Street, East Providence at 6:00 p.m.