Franciscan Historian Father Cenci Died This Week

Priest Found His Mission in Studies

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ROME, NOV. 5, 2010 ( Franciscan Father Cesare Cenci, whose research led to the rewriting of the history of the first decades of his congregation, died on Tuesday.

Mass for the repose of his soul was celebrated Wednesday at the Church of St. Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces, in the Franciscan general curia. Another Mass was held Thursday in his native town of Monteforte d’Alpone, Italy, and his remains were buried in the Costalunga cemetery next to his mother’s burial spot.

Cesare Cenci was born in 1925 and entered the Franciscan order in 1936. He made his solemn profession on March 25, 1947, and was ordained a priest on June 26, 1949.

A press release on his congregation’s Web site noted that the priest asked to go to Central America as a missionary, but he was instead sent to study moral theology at what was then the Pontifical Athenaeum Antonianum in Rome.

In 1959, Father Cenci became part of the Fathers Publishers of St. Bonaventure College of Quaracchi in Florence, who were working on the Complete Works of St. Bernadine of Siena.

After the Franciscan publishing arm was transferred to the outskirts of Rome in 1971, the priest began studying pontifical records and teaching at the Athenaeum Pontifical Antonianum, which is now the Pontifical University Antonianum.

During his research in the Vatican Secret Archives Father Cenci discovered that Papal letters remained in the registers regarding the Franciscans, which were not published in the various volumes of the Bullarium Franciscanum. In 1991 he began to look again, with meticulous patience, at all the registers from 1378 to 1484 to compile a Supplementum, a monumental work given to the printers in the years 2002-2003.

Father Cenci authored two volumes of the new edition of the “Constitutiones Generales Ordinis Fratrum Minorum” (Saec. XIII et XIV), along with 100 other publications.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2007 for his work on the history of the Fransciscan order.

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