Rev. José M. Martelli, C.S.C.

Rev. José M. Martelli, C.S.C.
Apr. 1, 1943 – Mar. 6, 2019

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Rev. José (Giuseppe) Maria Martelli, C.S.C., 75, died at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind., on Wednesday, March 6, 2019.

Watch Fr. Martelli’s Funeral Mass via YouTube.

Fr. Martelli was born in Viciomaggio, Arezzo, Italy to Edoardo and Maria Martelli on April 1, 1943, and received his early education in Florence and Bologna, Italy. He began his college education at Urbania Pontifical University in Rome as a member of the Barnabite community, graduating in 1966. As a seminarian, Fr. Martelli worked as assignator locorum at the Second Vatican Council and was secretary to Cardinal Carlo Confalonieri. After some graduate work in philosophy at the Louvain in Belgium, his theological training was in Santiago, Chile at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica where he was introduced to the Congregation of Holy Cross.

Fr. Martelli made his novitiate in Bennington, Vermont and was received into the Congregation on September 1, 1969. He pronounced First Vows on August 8, 1970, and was ordained to the priesthood on December 14, 1973 in San Secondo di Pinerolo, Italy, a small town in the Alps where his mother was residing.

From 1973 to 1977, he worked in the District of Chile at St. George’s College as head librarian and as a teacher of theology and philosophy, in a time of difficulty for the country. He was a great witness for the Christians there, founding soup kitchens and working to help provide the people with the basic necessities of life. He is remembered there still with great affection.

In 1977 he returned to the United States for study and parochial ministry. From 1978 to 1980, he was an assistant at Saint Patrick Parish in South Bend, Indiana, then moved to Holy Cross Parish, South Bend, for one year. In 1981, he began studies in liturgy at the Pontifical Institute at San Anselmo in Rome. Starting in 1988, he assisted in the formation of novices at the Holy Cross Novitiate in Cascade, Colorado. In 1991, he was assigned to assist at Sacred Heart Parish, Notre Dame. The next year, he was appointed pastor and served there until 2001, when he moved to Coachella, California to serve as spiritual director of Programa Misionero del Valle (Valley Missionary Program) for the next six years. In 2007, he moved to Our Lady of Fatima House in Notre Dame, Indiana. From 2008 to 2010, he served as associate pastor of St. Thérèse, Little Flower Parish, in South Bend, Indiana, then in Hispanic ministry at St. Dominic Catholic Church in Bremen, Indiana from 2010 to 2011. From 2011 to 2013, he served as assistant priest at Saint Matthew Cathedral Catholic Parish in South Bend, Indiana. He moved to Holy Cross House in 2016.

Preceding him in death are his parents, Edoardo and Maria Martelli. He is survived by his brother, Pier Giovanni Martelli, of Torino, Italy and his sister, Vittoria Pelaga, of Florence, Italy.

Visitation will be from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 11, 2019 at Moreau Seminary, Notre Dame, Ind., where there will be a Wake Service at 7:30 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the Notre Dame campus on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 at 3:30 p.m. Burial will be in the community cemetery at Notre Dame. Kaniewski Funeral Home, South Bend, is in charge of the arrangements.

Memorial contributions in support of the mission and ministries of the Congregation of Holy Cross can be made to: United States Province of Priests and Brothers, Office of Development, P.O. Box 765, Notre Dame, IN 46556-0765 or online at

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