Born in 1892 in Atkinson, Illinois, was the fifth of six children of Leopold Elslander, a farmer, cotton broker and Belgian immigrant, and Philomina de Fryne, a native of Holland. When he was four years of age, the family moved to Cleveland, Mississippi, and eight years later, to San Antonio, Florida, a comparatively new settlement in the west-central highlands of the state. As a training center for a future parish priest, Charles’ parents could not have chosen a better spot. Living conditions were at the pioneer stage but there were Catholic schools and an established church, the only remaining evidence of early Spanish Catholic influence.
Four years after graduating from St. Leo’s High School in neighboring St. Leo, Charles Elslander entered Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Maryland in 1914. He completed his studies for the priesthood at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, New York and was ordained for the Diocese of St. Augustine. He served in several parishes before being assigned to St. Martha.
Father Elslander’s service to the parish was rewarded by the Church by his elevation to the rank of Domestic Prelate with the title of Right Reverend Monsignor. His service to the community was recognized when he was chosen Sarasota’s “Man of the Year” by the American Legion. Monsignor Elslander announced his plans to conclude forty years of service at St. Martha in December 1967 – having reached 75, mandatory age for retirement of priests in the Diocese. He retired in January of 1968. Monsignor lived in Sarasota in retirement and celebrated with the Parish his fifty years as a priest on June 11, 1972. He died at Maria Manor, a nursing home in St. Petersburg, Florida on March 16, 1977, and was buried from St. Martha.
Born in Geneva, New York on November 24, 1927, attended Catholic schools there. He then studied for the priesthood at St. Andrew’s Minor Seminary and St. Bernad’s Major Seminary both in Rochester, New York, and at St. John’s Major Seminary in Brighton, Massachusets, and was ordained by Archbishop Joseph P. Hurley on February 2, 1955 for the Diocese of St. Augustine. He served a number of parishes, was president of Bishop Moore High School in Orlando and on the Board of Catholic Schools and on the Priests Council for the Diocese before coming to Sarasota. In October he was named as Coordinator of Religious Education for the Diocese of St. Petersburg, as well.
A native of Waterbury, Connecticut, born November 3, 1938, his family moved to St. Petersburg when he was ten. He graduated from St. Paul’s High School there. His priestly studies took him to St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester, New York, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree and to the Gregorian University in Rome where he earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology. After his ordination at the Jesuit Church of St. Ignatius in Rome on December 18, 1963, he was assigned to the Catholic Student Center at the University of Florida in Gainesville. His first post as a parish priest was at St. Martha in 1965 and he was Monsignor Elslander’s associate until the latter priest’s retirement. He was the director of Monsignor Elslander’s retirement ceremonies. From 1968 until he returned to St. Martha, Father assisted at the Cathedral in St. Petersburg and was vice chancellor of the diocese. Subsequently he was named pastor of Corpus Christi Church in Temple Terrace, Tampa. In the Diocese of St. Petersburg, he served also on the liturgical commission as chairman, on the diocesan personnel and realty boards and in 1976 was appointed dean of the Southwest Deanery. Fr. Carosella served as the first Chancellor for the Diocese of Venice under Bishop Nevins for 17 years, and is presently the pastor of Our Lady of Mercy in Boca Grande.
Father Rourke was born in Fitchburg, MA on June 18, 1936 and was ordained in Worcester, MA on May 23, 1963. Father spent the first ten years of his priesthood in Ft. Portal, Uganda, East Africa. He then returned to the United States and was an Associate at Nativity Parish in Brandon, FL and then St. Joseph’s in Bradenton for seven years. He was Administrator of St. Mary’s in Tampa before becoming pastor of St. Francis of Assisi in Grove City in 1983. Father came to St. Martha from Grove City. On July 12, 1986 at the 4:00 p.m. Mass, Father Rourke was installed as Pastor of St. Martha by the Very Reverend Edward Moretti, Episcopal Vicar for the Northern and Eastern Deaneries of the Diocese of Venice.
Father Stampiglia was born and raised in Rome, Italy. He is a Pallottine priest ordained in Rome on November 27, 1960 just two years before the opening of Vatican Council II. Father Fausto has the distinction of being the first pastor of St. Martha Church who belongs to a religious order, The Society of the Catholic Apostolate, known as the Pallottines.
Father started his ministry as spiritual director of minor seminarians. He then became director of an after school center and then headmaster of a boarding school for boys.
Father was sent in his fourth year of priesthood to become associate and then pastor of St. Ann’s in East Harlem, New York City, where he served for ten years. He then became, successively, assistant pastor of Our Lady of Fatima in Schenectady, New York, pastor of Sacred Heart and St. Rita in Cohoes, New York, and Auditor of the Diocesan Tribunal of the Diocese of Albany, New York. Father was named pastor of St. Joseph Church in Port St. Joe, Florida, followed by Director of Permanent Diaconate/Pastoral Institute and Episcopal Vicar for rural ministry in the Diocese of Pensacola, Florida. During this time he founded four parishes; St. Rita (Santa Rosa Beach), Resurrection (Miramar Beach), St. James (Wewahitchka) and St. Vincent (now Guadalupe) in Mexico Beach.
Father Fausto then became Director of the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of St. Petersburg and later in the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas where he was also pastor of Our Lady Star of the Sea. Presently Father is Director of the Permanent Diaconate and the Theologian to the Bishop of Venice as well as being pastor of St. Martha. Father holds the distinction of being the only priest in the United States who has started the Permanent Diaconate Program in three dioceses: Pensacola, St. Petersburg and Venice.
Father Fausto’s credentials before and during his years of ministry are many. He has an academic degree in liturgy at Collegio Leonianum; Bachelors in philosophy and theology at the Gregorian University in Rome; an M.S. in Psychology at Fordham University; and a Doctorate in Theology at St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, where Pope John Paul II earned his doctorate.
Father Fausto is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Liturgy in Rome, The American Association for Counseling and Development, and of The Association for Religious Values in Counseling (ARVIC). He is also a member of the Papal Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, a 4th degree Knights of Columbus, and is the Chaplain of Our Lady of Victory Knights of Columbus Council 3358 in Sarasota.
When Father came to St. Martha from Incarnation Parish, he shared with his new parishioners his five goals, which he hoped would become “our goals.”
1. A more intense and loving bond between Jesus and us, and within ourselves, for the good of all.
2. A deeper involvement and more generous support of our St. Martha School: “I intend to make it the best in the City!”
3. A more intense religious formation of our Public School children when attending Religious Education.
4. A greater support for our elderly who have built so many churches and Catholic schools in the past.
5. A continuing involvement in Jesus’ preferential love of the poor, the needy, and the discriminated.
Very Reverend Edward D. Moretti, V.E., formally installed Father Fausto as Pastor of St. Martha at the 12:00 noon Mass on Sunday, July 28, 1991 in the presence of fellow clergy and parishioners. Father was welcomed at a reception in the West Hall after the Mass.
In 2010, Fr. Fausto was awarded the “Papal Medal of Pro Ecclesia et Pontiface” (for Church and Pope) by Pope Benedict XVI, the highest recognition for a priest, for his exemplary service to the church. In November 2010, Fr. Fausto celebrated his 50th anniversary as a priest by offering mass in Rome, where he was ordained, along with three of his fellow classmates.