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Monday, October 2, 2023
Father De Santis
  And so it was, on December 22, 1938, Father Costantino DeSantis, at the request of the now new Apostolic Delegate, Monsignor I. Antoniutti, arrived in Windsor with the task of organizing the Italian parish and building a new church.

Father DeSantis was fifty when he came to Windsor. Born in Civita Castellana, in the province of Viterbo, Italy, he had studied at seminaries in Pisa, Florence, and at a military school in Rome. A captain in the Italian army, he had served as a chaplain in Italy, France, and Belgium during the First World War. In 1930, he arrived in the United States, where he became assistant pastor
at St. Joachim’s parish in Trenton, New Jersey. In 1937, he became pastor of St. Michael’s parish in Atlantic City, N. J.

Father DeSantis’ first Mass for the Italian community of Windsor was celebrated at Holy Trinity Church on Christmas Day, 1938. When he arrived here, he found Windsor still in the grips of a depression that had been going on since the early 1930s. Many men in the 300 Italian families were unemployed.

By several accounts a strict and determined man, Fr. DeSantis is still
well-remembered for the help he gave those early immigrants. Many mornings, he would go with the unemployed men to the auto factories, tool and die shops, and construction firms to help them find jobs. He also served the immigrants as an interpreter with immigration and other government officials.

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The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.


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