It is with sadness that we announce the death of Fr. Bentivegna, OSJ, also known as Fr. Sam. He served the Congregation of the Oblates of St. Joseph with 68 years of Religious Vows and 57 years in the priesthood.
He entered the Congregation at the age of 18, after completing secondary school. He began his training at the then-existing Formation House in West Pittston, Pennsylvania. He made his Novitiate in Tomales, California and made his First Profession of Vows there on September 11, 1952. Returning to Pennsylvania, he completed his philosophical studies at King’s College, Wilkes Barre and theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D. C.
He spent the first ten years of priestly service in California in various positions, as an assistant pastor and as a formator and teacher to seminarians. In 1973 Fr Sam was transferred to St. Rocco in Pittston, Pennsylvania, as an assistant pastor. After a year spent in Rome, he returned to the United States of America and held various positions here, both as assistant pastor and as parish priest. He spent his longest service as a pastor of St. Sebastian in Middletown, Connecticut from 1979 to 1990.
Back in Pennsylvania, he worked in the churches of St. Rita in Gouldsboro, St. Patrick in White Haven, and St. Lucy in Scranton.
Fr. Sam retired from active pastoral service in 2002 for personal and health reasons. In 2016 he moved to the Scranton Manor Nursing Home, where he could find much consolation by living with his sister Grace, who also resides in the same facility.
In the last twenty years of his life, he suffered from various ailments and diseases, which he has always endured with patience.
He had contracted covid-19 at the beginning of December 2020 and died a few days later from the consequences of this virus, in a personal clinical situation that was already quite weak.
Fr Sam was very interested in the history and good of the Church and put his zeal for faith in his service as an Oblate of St. Joseph. He had an exceptional memory, which allowed him to recall interesting anecdotes from the life of the Province and the Congregation. Even though he lived outside the community for many years, he felt part of the Congregation and maintained relationships with the confreres, often communicating with them by telephone and email.
May the soul of Fr. Sam rest in the peace of Christ accompanied by our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph.