Church of St. John of St. Paul
Rev. Thomas Pingatore
Ninth Pastor 2000 - 2003
Rev. Thomas Pingatore

The Reverend Thomas Pingatore returned to St. John’s Catholic Church in 2000 as its new pastor.  He was ordained as a priest on October 7, 1944 and his first assignment in 1945 was at St. John’s as assistant to the pastor, Father Doyle.

Father Doyle was reassigned shortly after Father Pingatore’s arrival. The new pastor, Father Edward DeCourcy, brought with him his own people and Father Pingatore spent the next several years gaining experience at parishes in Olivia, Wilmar and here in St. Paul.

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 its 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.

Father Pingatore 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 each month.

After Father Fink was reassigned to St. Mary’s in Shakopee in June 2000, Father Pingatore began helping out more often. The search for a new pastor went slowly due to a lack 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 only the ninth pastor at St. John’s since it was established in 1886.

When asked how long he will stay at St. John’s, the spry 80-year old priest says with a twinkle in his eye that due to Archdiocesan rules, priests nowadays can only 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 St. John’s.

Update: Father  Pingatore retired in 2003 and died in July 2005.

Return to Pastors Page