Fr. Floyd Lotito, OFM, Former Deputy Director of St. Anthony Foundation, Dies

Jul 15, 2009, 18:11 ET from St. Anthony Foundation

SAN FRANCISCO, July 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Franciscan Father Floyd Lotito, longtime director of many programs at St. Anthony Foundation since 1970, died on July 14th, 2009. He was 74 years old.

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Equally at home with A-list socialites and the poorest residents of San Francisco, Fr. Lotito was a passionate advocate for the poor throughout his entire life. In San Francisco, he is perhaps best known for his work with St. Anthony Foundation, where he has served in various capacities since 1968.

"Fr. Floyd affirmed the dignity of each person he met, calling them 'brother' and 'sister,'" says St. Anthony Foundation Board President Fr. John Hardin, OFM. "He used his incredible gifts of communication, presence, planning and charisma to build relationships with people from the entire community, from politicians, journalists, philanthropists and athletes to those living on the margins of our society."

Alfonso Joseph Lotito was born in Los Angeles on July 28, 1934. His father, Joseph, came from a family of shepherds in Bari, Italy. His mother, Filomena Pirri Lotito, was a first generation Californian. He attended Divine Savior Grammar School in Los Angeles, and then won an academic scholarship to Cathedral High School. In 1949 he entered St. Anthony Seminary in Santa Barbara, and entered the Franciscan Order on July 12, 1953, receiving his religious name, Floyd. He was ordained a priest on December 17, 1960.

Fr. Lotito received his B.A. from San Luis Rey College and his Bachelor of Sacred Theology from Old Mission Theological Seminary in Santa Barbara, CA in 1961. Fr. Lotito received an M.A. in Speech and Communication Arts from Marquette University in Milwaukee in 1970. He held a lifetime California teaching credential and taught high school for six years, including five years at St. Anthony Seminary High School in Santa Barbara and one year at Serra High School. He taught English, Latin, Spanish, Italian and speech.

Fr. Lotito also served as a parish priest for parishes in California, Oregon and Wisconsin, and also was a spiritual director, chaplain, retreat director and counselor for many organizations. A renowned speaker, he delivered the benediction at the 1984 Democratic National Convention, and blessed the opening of Pacific Bell Park at the pre-game ceremonies in 2000. His work was written about in Newsweek Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, and many other publications.

At St. Anthony Foundation, Fr. Lotito served from 1970 to 1981 as Deputy Executive Director, working directly for the founder of St. Anthony Foundation, Fr. Alfred Boeddeker, OFM. Fr. Lotito also worked as Director of Public Relations, Director of St. Anthony Dining Room, and as a chaplain for St. Anthony's. Under his leadership, St. Anthony Dining Room began serving meals on Sundays in 1981. In 1983, he also developed a drop-in hygiene program at a time when few such services were available to homeless people in San Francisco. He also oversaw the People's Picnic in Golden Gate Park in 1984, a day when St. Anthony Dining Room prepared a festive picnic for its guests. Since 1989, he served as a consultant, providing advice and service to staff, donors, clients, and the boards of St. Anthony Foundation.

Fr. Lotito was also a familiar figure in the Tenderloin and throughout the City of St. Francis. Since 1990, each year he would preside over the Blessing of the Animals at St. Boniface Church, adjacent to St. Anthony Foundation. The blessing occurred on or around the Feast of St. Francis, October 4, and drew hundreds of cats, dogs, snakes, guinea pigs, and their guardians/owners. Since 1999, he also presided at the Blessing of the Taxi Fleet, also in front of St. Boniface Church, where cab drivers would line up for a block to receive a benediction.

St. Anthony Foundation is best known for its Free Dining Room, which serves an average of 2,600 meals each day. In addition to the Dining Room, St. Anthony's programs include one of the oldest and largest free medical clinics in San Francisco; a free clothing and furniture program; a residence for low-income senior women; a residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation center; an employment program and technology lab; a social work center; and educational programs for the community on issues of poverty and homelessness. St. Anthony Foundation does not accept any federal, state, or local government money, and is entirely funded by the private sector.

Funeral services for Fr. Floyd will be held at St. Boniface Church, 133 Golden Gate Ave in San Francisco, on Tuesday, July 21st at 10 a.m. A vigil service will be held at 4 p.m.

SOURCE St. Anthony Foundation