Piro named grand president of Italian Catholic Federation leadership
Vince Piro of Merced was named grand president of the Italian Catholic Federation’s (ICF) Central Council Executive Board of Directors during the ICF’s recent national convention in Tucson, Arizona.
Piro carries on a Merced tradition of being at the helm of the 95-year-old organization’s national leadership. In previous years, Bill Delcaso and Nettie Delcaso Del Nero has also held the title of grand president.
Piro, an English teacher at Merced College for the past 30 years, has been a member of the local Branch 39 of the ICF for more than 15 years. He is also a former college Dean of English and Humanities, and a past president of the Italo American Lodge in Merced.
“I want to say that I feel that the ICF is as vital and important an organization today as it was 95 years ago,” Piro said in his installation speech. “And really our original vocation hasn’t changed that much. It says on our crest: ‘I came to light a fire.’ It is our mission, our purpose for being. Today, we are still called to light a fire. We are called to light the fire of faith in our parishes and communities. And I believe this needs to remain the focus of our organization.”
On a national level, the ICF is most active in the states of California, Nevada, Arizona and Illinois. Chapters award scholarships to Catholic elementary and high school students and grants to assist the developmentally disabled. The Mario Cugia Scholarship promotes Italian studies.The ICF is also a major supporter of Cooley’s Anemia (Thalassemia) research and treatment, and sponsors an Organ Donor Awareness program. The Gifts of Love Program provides grants to individuals with disabilities so that they may develop academic, athletic, vocational and creative arts skills that assist them towards greater independence.
Locally, the membership of the ICF’s Branch 39 is active at St. Patrick’s Church Parish, Our Lady of Mercy School and Catholic Charities. Members donate time and money to Sober Grad Night for local high schools, and scholastic scholarships for local students. They are also known for their annual Chicken Cacciatore Fundraiser, among other charity events and community service.
In recent years, Piro has worked his way up the Central Council’s Executive board. He has also been instrumental in writing a strategic plan for the ICF — the first one the organization has ever had.
Piro seeks to build the ICF’s online presence to help expand chapter representation to other cities and regions across America.