Cardinal Francesco Montenegro, Metropolitan Archbishop emeritus of Agrigento (Italy), was born in Messina (Italy) on 22 May 1946. He carried out his higher studies in philosophy and theology at the S. Pio X archiepiscopal seminary in Messina.
He received priestly ordination on 8 August 1969, and was incardinated in the archdiocese of Messina.
He attended courses in pastoral theology at the Ignatium in Messina, and exercised his priestly ministry in the outskirts of the same town from 1969 to 1971. From 1971 to 1978 he was personal secretary of the late Archbishop Francesco Fasola and Archbishop Ignazio Cannavò.
From 1978 to 1988 he served as parish priest in the S. Clemente parish in Messina. In 1988 he was appointed as director of diocesan Caritas, regional delegate of Caritas and Regional Representative at the National Caritas.
He has also worked as a teacher of religion, diocesan assistant to the Italian Sport Centre, diocesan director of the Apostolate of Prayer, functionary of the Chapter of the Archimandrite, rector of the S. Rita church-shrine and spiritual father of the minor seminary. He also served as a member of the presbyteral council.
From 1997 to 2000 he served as general pro-vicar of the archdiocese of Messina-Lipari-Santa Lucia del Mela, and from 1998 as canon of the Proto-Metropolitan Chapter of the Cathedral of Messina.
He was elected to the titular see of Aurusuliana and appointed as auxiliary bishop of Messina-Lipari-Santa Lucia del Mela on 18 March 2000. He received Episcopal ordination on 29 April of the same year.
He was president of Italian Caritas from May 2003 to May 2008. Again President of Italian Caritas from 2015.
On 23 February 2008 he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as metropolitan archbishop of Agrigento.
Since 2013 he has served as president of the Episcopal Commission for Migration within the Italian Episcopal Conference, and president of the “Migrantes” Foundation.
On July 8 2013, he welcomed Pope Francis in Lampedusa, the first trip of his Pontificate.
Appointed by Pope Francis he participated in the XIV Ordinary General Assembly on The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World (October 2015).
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Pope Francis in the consistory of 14 February 2015, of the Title of Santi Andrea e Gregorio al Monte Celio (Sts. Andrew and Gregory at Monte Celio).