Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Archpriest emeritus of St. Peter’s Basilica, Vicar General emeritus of His Holiness for Vatican City State and President emeritus of the Fabric of Saint Peter’s, was born on September 17, 1943 in Sorano, Italy in the province of Grosseto and diocese of Pitigliano-Sovana-Orbetello (Italy).
His humble family lived in the Maremma hills. His mother who was profoundly religious was his true educator in life. He finished his junior high school in the seminary of Pitigliano and his high school studies in the regional seminary at Viterbo. He then completed his priestly formation in the Roman Major Seminary while enrolling at the Pontifical Lateran University where he graduated with a licentiate in theology.
He was ordained a priest on March 11, 1967 and right after he was nominated vice-rector of the diocesan seminary of Pitigliano. In 1968 he was called to work in Rome at the Congregation for Bishops. Simultaneously he was nominated spiritual director at the Roman Minor Seminary and assistant chaplain of Regina Caeli Prison. He recounted these years of pastoral mission in the prison environment in his book entitled "I was in prison !".
In 1971 he left Rome to direct the diocesan Seminary of Pitigliano-Sovana-Orbetello. During those years the seminary witnessed a good flourishing of priestly vocations. In 1979 he was nominated parish priest of Porto Santo Stefano. This 11 years period of pastoral mission at the Argentario was filled with spiritual blessings and among the most enriching events was an historical visit to the parish by Mother Teresa of Calcutta with whom he developed a close friendship.
On July 25, 1990 he was nominated Bishop of Massa Marittima-Piombino and on September 12 he received his episcopal ordination. However due to a sudden heart ailment on March 3, 1994 he was forced to resign from his pastoral mission in the diocese which always remained very dear to him.
As bishop emeritus of Massa Marittima-Piombino, in 1994 he became president of the Italian National Center for Vocations as well as president of the Italian National Committee for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.
Having recovered completely from his heart illness, on November 9, 1996 he was nominated Archbishop and Pontifical Delegate for the Shrine of Loreto. Here at Loreto he lived an intensive experience of welcoming pilgrims especially the sick assisted by Unitalsi and Oftal.
For nine consecutive years he preached the "Quaresimali", and the thoughts expressed on these occasions were published in a series of nine books. Contemporarily he was nominated president of the regional Episcopal Conference of the Marche as well as president of both the Committee for the Italian national Eucharistic congresses and the National Network of Italian Sanctuaries. He was also nominated vice-president of the Pontifical Academy of the Immacolata.
For Lent of 2003, Pope John Paul II asked his to preach the spiritual exercises to the Roman Curia. He chose the theme "God is Love !". His meditations were published in a book translated in six languages.
On February 5, 2005 Pope John Paul II nominated him his Vicar General for Vatican City State and President of the Fabric of St. Peter as well as Coadjutor Archbishop of the Basilica of St. Peter flanking the role of Cardinal Francesco Marchisano. Cardinal Comastri was Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, Vicar General of His Holiness for Vatican City State and President of the Fabric of Saint Peter’s until 20 February 2021.
Pope Benedict XVI invited him to prepare the texts for the Stations of the Cross for the Good Friday celebration at the Colosseum back in 2006. On October 31 of the same year the Pope nominated him Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Peter.
He is author of many publications on spirituality and pastoral life, translated in the major languages.
He participated in the conclave of March 2013, which elected Pope Francis.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Benedict XVI in the consistory of 24 November 2007, of the Deaconry of San Salvatore in Lauro (St. Salvatore in Lauro).
On May 19th 2018, the Holy Father Francis held an Ordinary Public Consistory for the canonization of some blessed.
The Optatio of six Cardinals from the Order of Deacons to the Order of Presbyters followed.
At the request of Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the Diaconia of S. Salvatore in Lauro has been elevated pro hac vice to Presbyteral title.
- Congregation for the Causes of Saints.