Father Jonathan P. DeFelice, OSB Courtesy photo
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Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley announced July 25 that Father Jonathan P. DeFelice, OSB has been appointed as Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of Boston. Father Jonathan currently serves in the Tribunal for the Diocese of Providence and is the president emeritus of St. Anselm College.
His appointment is effective September 4, 2018. Father Jonathan succeeds Most Reverend Mark O'Connell, who is Auxiliary Bishop for the North Region in the Archdiocese of Boston.
"Father Jonathan is an experienced leader and gifted priest," said Cardinal O'Malley. ''We are pleased that he has accepted this new assignment to lead the Metropolitan Tribunal. I am grateful to Bishop Mark O'Connell for faithfully serving as Judicial Vicar since 2007, especially the past two years while also leading the North Region."
The Cardinal also extended his appreciation to the Order of St. Benedict for supporting Father DeFelice's appointment to the archdiocese.
"I am very grateful to Cardinal Seán for inviting me to assume this important work for the Archdiocese of Boston. Humbled by the prospect, I am very much looking forward to getting to know all involved and to continuing the excellent work of Bishop Mark O'Connell," Father Jonathan said.
The Metropolitan Tribunal is the Ecclesiastical Court of the Archdiocese of Boston and The Metropolitan Tribunal of Boston is charged with the administration of justice, as a court of first instance and as an appellate court, for matters of the public good brought before the Church. Although most cases brought before the Tribunal involve questions of marital nullity, the court also acts as the competent forum for other issues, including penal matters.
Bishop Mark O'Connell said, "It has been a privilege to work with a wonderful staff and committed volunteers. I am most grateful to Father Christopher Palladino who as Adjutant Judicial Vicar has been the day-to-day operations manager since I was named bishop in 2016. I congratulate Father Jonathan DeFelice, OSB on his appointment as Judicial Vicar and I am excited by what he will offer the cardinal and the archdiocese with his vast experience in the Church."
Father Jonathan, a native of Bristol, Rhode Island attended Our Lady of Mount Carmel School and is a graduate of Portsmouth Abbey School where he served as a member of the Board of Regents. He entered St. Anselm Abbey in 1968 and earned an A.B. in philosophy at St. Anselm College. He professed solemn vows as a Benedictine monk in 1973 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1974 after studying theology at St. John Seminary. In 1983, he received a licentiate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
Father Jonathan was president of St. Anselm College from 1989-2013. Following his retirement as president in July 2013 the Board of Trustees conferred on him the title President Emeritus. Before he assumed the presidency, Father Jonathan served the college in a variety of other capacities, including instructor of theology, dean of students, assistant to the academic dean and dean of freshmen, and associate director of campus ministry. In addition, he was a member of the Governing Board of the college since 1985. At St. Anselm Abbey, Father Jonathan was subprior and master of junior monks between 1985 and 1986, and was prior and director of formation from 1986 until becoming President of the College.
Having led St. Anselm College for 24 years, he was deeply involved in the New Hampshire academic, business and non-profit communities. This includes being past chair of the New Hampshire College and University Council and chair of the New Hampshire Higher Education Commission. He was founding chairman of Campus Compact New Hampshire, an association of colleges and universities to promote service learning and a founding member of the New Hampshire Forum on the Future and served on its advisory board. He served the community through positions on the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Catholic Medical Center and Optima Healthcare Board of Directors among many others.
Following his presidency, he lived and ministered at St. Joseph Parish in Greenwich Village, New York City and served as part-time executive director of the Association of Benedictine Colleges and Universities. In July 2015 he was loaned to the Diocese of Providence, where he was Assistant Moderator of the Curia and Vice Chancellor of the Diocese until June 2018. Currently he serves in the Tribunal of the Diocese of Providence.
Most Rev. Peter J. Uglietto, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Boston, said, "The role of Judicial Vicar is an important position in the diocese. In Bishop Mark we have seen the Tribunal address issues in a fair and just manner, respecting the individuals involved and the responsibilities of the Church. We welcome Father Jonathan to the Archdiocese of Boston and offer our prayers and support as he undertakes the work and ministry ahead."