Thomas Pingatore returned to St. John’s Catholic Church in 2000 as its
new pastor. He was ordained as a priest on
1944 and his first assignment in 1945 was at St. John’s as assistant to
pastor, Father Doyle.
Father Doyle was
reassigned shortly after Father Pingatore’s arrival. The new pastor,
Edward DeCourcy, brought with him his own people and Father Pingatore
next several years gaining experience at parishes in Olivia, Wilmar and
In 1947, Father
Pioletti at Holy Redeemer, an Italian parish, was in need of an
assistant. Since Father Pingatore is
Italian and able
to speak the language, he got the assignment. Part
of his job was to take care of St. Ambrose, a
mission parish on
Payne Avenue. A mission parish was one
that had a church but no permanent priest.
St. Ambrose was
upgraded to a parish in 1954 and on January 7 Father Pingatore became
first, and as it turned out, its only pastor. Catering
to a growing and mainly Italian
congregation, a new and bigger
church was built on Burr Street in 1957. Father
Pingatore remained its pastor until the
Archdiocese closed it in
1998. That was when his journey back to
St. John’s really began.
became Pastor Emeritus of the new St. Ambrose that was being built in
Woodbury. However, many of his former
parishioners opted to join St. John’s in Dayton’s Bluff.
He asked Pastor Joseph Fink if he could say
Mass at St. John’s from time to time to make them feel more at home. Father Fink agreed and Father Pingatore
became the celebrant at the 4:15 p.m. Mass on the first Saturday of
After Father Fink
was reassigned to St. Mary’s in Shakopee in June 2000, Father Pingatore
helping out more often. The search for a new pastor went slowly due to
of available and experienced priests. Father
Pingatore came up with a solution to the
problem by volunteering
to become the new pastor. The Archdiocese
agreed and on August 15, 2000, the Feast of the Assumption, he became
ninth pastor at St. John’s since it was established in 1886.
how long he will stay at St. John’s, the spry 80-year old priest says
twinkle in his eye that due to Archdiocesan rules, priests nowadays can
stay at a parish for twelve years. So
come 2012, Father Pingatore will be out looking for another parish. But until that time, he is very welcome at
Update: Father Pingatore retired in 2003 and died in July 2005.