EAST GREENWICH, RI (WPRI) - The Catholic community is mourning the passing of a well-known church pastor. Monsignor John Lolio, 68, died unexpectedly this weekend after falling and hitting his head.
Bishop Robert Evans said he made the announcement at Sunday morning Mass.
"It was so unexpected, this accidental death. I announced it at Mass at 7:30 this morning, I had been at the hospital when he passed around 4 a.m.," said Robert Evans, Auxiliary Bishop of Providence Diocese.
For parishioners and friends, it is a devastating loss.
"There were audible gasps for the entire congregation, because it was so unexpected. He was so beloved and respected here," continued Evans.
Monsignor Lolio was born in Providence and educated in the public schools. He was ordained in 1970 by Bishop Kelly in St. Augustine Church in Providence.
He taught Latin to students at the seminary. He will be missed by all.
"He really radiated a kindness and gentleness, it was reflected through him. Almost transparency. People felt very calm and at ease in his presence," said Evans.
He was named chaplain of Bryant College in Smithfield in 1977 and later pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in 1992.
In January 2009, Lolio was named as one of ten "Chaplains to His Holiness" in Rhode Island by Pope Benedict, an honor reflecting the recipient's dedication to the church.
Funeral arrangements for Monsignor Lolio have not yet been determined.
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