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Rev. Camillo Tirabassi

February 25, 1931 ~ July 10, 2021 (age 90)

Obituary

 

 

 

The Mass of Christian Burial for Fr. Cam in South Bend will be livestreamed on the Corpus Christi Church facebook page.

The Mass of Christian Burial for Fr. Cam in Cleveland will be livestreamed at:https://www.facebook.com/Holy-Redeemer-Church-Collinwood-Cleveland-Ohio-110673168951760/

 

Father Camillo “Cam” Tirabassi, 90, passed away on July 10, 2021 in South Bend, Indiana.  Fr. Cam was born on February 25, 1931 to Camillo and Angelica (Minillo) Tirabassi in Cleveland, Ohio.  He was baptized at Holy Redeemer Church on November 3, 1934 by Fr. Campagno, and confirmed with the name Anthony by Bishop McFadden on March 23, 1941.  Fr. Cam grew up in the Italian neighborhood surrounding Holy Redeemer Church on the eastside of Cleveland, where he developed a great love for baseball and the Cleveland Indians.  While attending Holy Redeemer Grade School, he was inspired by his active and involved parish priests, especially his pastor Fr. John Iammarino, and the Notre Dame Sisters who served at the school, to answer Christ’s call to the priesthood.  After graduating in 1945 from Holy Redeemer, he entered Brunnerdale Seminary High School in Canton, Ohio.  He maintained a lifelong friendship with Fr. James Grandillo and Msgr. Frank Manieri, who also grew up at Holy Redeemer.

Because the Diocese of Cleveland had numerous vocations, Fr. Cam was encouraged to finish his seminary education with the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.  He attended Our Lady of the Lake Seminary in Syracuse, Indiana, and Mount Saint Mary Seminary in Norwood, Ohio.  During his seminary days, he was known for his joyful spirit and love of athletics.  He persisted in his discernment of the priesthood and was ordained on May 30, 1959 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne, Indiana, by the Most Reverend Bishop Leo A. Pursley. 

Following his ordination, on June 17, 1959, Fr. Cam was appointed Chaplain for the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) Summer Camp in Lake Wawasee, and on August 22, 1959, became an Assistant at St. Joseph Church in Fort Wayne.  On July 1, 1969, he was appointed Fort Wayne Deanery Moderator of CYO and served in that role until 1973.  Fr. Cam’s gifts as an advocate and mentor for young people, especially high school youth, was encouraged and nurtured by Fr. Joseph Crowley, who would later become Bishop Crowley.  Fr. Cam and Bishop Crowley became great friends, and Fr. Cam was always grateful for Fr. Crowley’s guidance and mentoring in his early priesthood.  On September 1, 1972, Fr. Cam became Pastor of St. John Bosco Church in Churubusco, Indiana and Immaculate Conception Missions Church in Ege, Indiana. 

On February 14, 1978, Fr. Cam was appointed Pastor at Queen of Peace Church in Mishawaka.  While at Queen of Peace, he continued to use his ability to reach out to youth as football chaplain and weight room mentor for Penn High School.  On February 10, 1988, he moved to Corpus Christi Church in South Bend, where he became Pastor on July 1, 1988.  While at Corpus Christi, Fr. Cam devoted countless hours to mentoring and supporting the students at St. Joseph High School during the school day and at all types of sporting events, where he served as a chaplain for over 32 years.  On October 24, 2006, he was appointed to the St. Joseph High School Board of Education.  The weight room at the new St. Joseph High School is dedicated in his honor.  Fr. Cam was deeply committed to the students and families at the parishes he served, visiting often with the students and teachers in the classrooms and extracurricular activities.  Fr. Cam retired on August 4, 2009, after serving as Pastor of Corpus Christi for over 20 years along with Fr. Walter Bly.  He spent his retirement residing at Holy Family Church and St. Hedwig Church in South Bend. Fr. Cam was very grateful for Fr. Cyril Fernandez and the parishioners of St. Hedwig, who were his gracious hosts for the past nine years. 

Fr. Cam had a lifelong love for training and weightlifting and mentored thousands of youth in developing their athletic abilities.  He used his time in the gym to make connections with both youth and adults.  In his outreach to youth, he travelled to two World Youth Days and numerous other events.  He was grateful to be able to personally meet Pope St. John Paul II when he travelled to Rome with his good friend Msgr. Bernard Galic.  Another way Fr. Cam connected with others was to personally cook and serve a great Italian meal.  He fostered fraternity among brother priests, which always began with a homecooked meal, and was great friends with many priests in Indiana and Ohio.  If he wasn’t cooking, he was always happy to share a meal at one of his favorite restaurants.  He was gifted in bringing together food, friends and faith.  Fr. Cam followed the Italian motto vivi bene, ama molto e ridi spesso – live well, love much and laugh often – in his priesthood and daily life.  He stayed connected to those he served through attendance at their family celebrations and hosted many gatherings, and was known for his personal handwritten notes of gratitude and congratulations.  He maintained his joyful spirit until his very last days, and will always be remembered for his smile, his laugh and his genuine happiness. 

In his priestly ministry, making connections with people was at the center of his efforts.  He prayed the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with great devotion.  During his time at Corpus Christi Church, he grew in his love for Eucharistic Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.  He was greatly devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary and prayed the Rosary at least daily.  Fr. Cam was orthodox in his theology and traditional in his spirituality.  He was a great champion of the pro-life cause, inspired by his mother’s choice to choose life for him rather than listen to the voices of others who encouraged her otherwise.  Fr. Cam repaid his mother’s love for him by caring for her in his own home at St. John Bosco Church and then at Queen of Peace Church during her final years.  

Fr. Cam’s great strength in a parish was his straightforward preaching, promotion of the Sacrament of Confession, and offering opportunities for parishioners to grow in their faith and their devotion to the Eucharist, such as through the Forty Hours Devotion.  He had a great love for the priesthood, and devoted much prayer and effort encouraging young people to consider devotions to the priesthood and religious life.  After his dedication to promoting vocations throughout his priesthood, Fr. Cam was very happy to host the First Mass of his parishioner, Fr. Christopher Derda, on May 14, 2006. In his love for food, friendship, athletics and faith, Fr. Cam found an opportunity to connect people to God.  Fr. Cam was a faithful priest who used the gifts God gave him to minister to people in body and soul. In 2019, Fr. Cam marked his 60th Anniversary of Ordination by celebrating Mass at St. Patrick’s Church in South Bend with many priests and over 700 in attendance. 

Fr. Cam will be greatly missed by the thousands of parishioners, students and friends whose lives he touched throughout his many decades of service.  Fr. Cam is survived by many loving nieces, nephews and cousins.  He was preceded in death by his parents, Camillo and Angelica (Minillo) Tirabassi, brothers Alfred (Rita) Tirabassi, Nicholas (Monda) Tirabassi, and Louis (Gena Kusa) Tirabassi, and sisters Elizabeth (Louis) DiDonato and Mary (Steve) Pilar. 

A visitation will take place on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 in the Kaniewski Funeral Home, 3545 N. Bendix Drive, from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m., with Evening Prayer for the Deceased at 4:00 p.m.  Visitation will follow from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. with a Vigil Service/ Rosary at 7:00 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 at Corpus Christi Church, where a visitation will be held from 9:00 a.m. until 11:45 a.m.  A visitation, Mass, and burial will take place on Friday, July 23, 2021 at Holy Redeemer Church in Cleveland, Ohio, where a visitation will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., and the Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m.  Burial at All Souls Cemetery in Cleveland will follow. 

Memorial Contributions may be made to Corpus Christi Church or School, St. Hedwig Church, or St. Joseph High School in South Bend, Indiana, or to Queen of Peace Church or School in Mishawaka. To send online condolences, please visit kaniewski.com.

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