As pastor of the Church of the Sacred Heart of Natick, Rhode Island, Rev. F. A. Tirocchi is in charge of the only Italian church in the Pawtuxet Valley.
Sacred Heart parish was organized in 1929, but before that time the task of erecting a church building had already been undertaken. Ground had been broken for the new church in June, 1928, the cornerstone had been laid, October 4, 1928, and on September 2, 1929, the completed building was dedicated by the Rt. Rev. James M. Hickey, Bishop of Providence. Though the actual organization of Sacred Heart parish is so recent, its history rightly goes back to 1911, when the present pastor, Rev. F. A. Tirocchi, was assigned to the task of looking after the welfare of the Italians in this section of Rhode Island. For some years he held services for his Italian charges in St. Joseph’s Church, at Natick, but as the Italian population of the locality grew it soon became apparent that a separate church would be desirable. Accordingly, Father Tirocchi made careful preparation and had his church edifice well under way before the separation of his flock from St. Joseph’s congregation really took place. In 1930, after years of faithful effort and loving service, his people were located in a church home adequate for their needs and of which both pastor and people are justly proud. The membership of the parish has steadily grown until some three thousand souls are included within the district, and they are deeply interested in their church. Sacred Heart Church is a substantial, well-built edifice providing seating for about six hundred people. Father Tirocchi has purchased a plot of ground upon which he plans to build a new and modern school in the near future. The parish has a number of well-developed societies, including a Holy Name Society, for men, a Young Ladies’ Sodality, and numerous other organizations, also a Catholic Club, a Boy Scouts troop, and a dramatic club which is very popular and which produces a number of plays each year. All these groups meet in the basement of the church, which is well equipped for the purpose, and all are prosperous and active. For the manifold tasks of the parish Father Tirocchi has one assistant, Rev. M. A. McShane. Father Tirocchi is popular among the young people of the parish.
Rev. F. A. Tirocchi was born in Rome, Italy, and received his early education in the parochial schools of his native district. When his preparatory course was finished he entered college, and later began his theological studies in the Apollinare University at Rome, where he completed his course with graduation and was ordained a priest March 11, 1911. After his ordination he left his native land and came to the United States, locating in Rhode Island. That same year he was assigned the task of looking after the spiritual welfare of the many Italians who had settled in the Pawtuxet Valley and vicinity, and his life work since that time has been identified with the section which is now included in Sacred Heart parish. For nearly twenty years he has been laboring for his fellow-countrymen in this section, and the results are an eloquent commentary on his ability and his faithfulness. The history of the parish is the history of his successful labors and his constant devotion, and as his reward he has the deep love of his people and the sure knowledge that because of his work they are better men and women than they might otherwise have been. His genial manner, his sympathetic insight, and his tact and delicacy have endeared him to hundreds, and in the community even outside of his parish he is highly regarded for what he has accomplished as well as for his Christian qualities of character.
Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.