Monsignor Hilary Franco

WYC Council and Special Advisor

Monsignor Hilary C. Franco is Advisor of the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. An active member of the Catholic Biblical Association of America, he has been the recipient of several international awards, including Solemare 1988 in Taormina, Italy, for the popular international television programs Life Is Worth Living and The Bishop Sheen Show. He also received at the Teatro ‘La Scala’ in Milano, Italy, the first international Civilizations Without Frontiers (Civiltà Senza Frontiere) award, which was conferred also on that occasion to the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mother Teresa of Calcutta and to 1986 Nobel Prize for Medicine to Prof. Rita Levi Montalcini.

Monsignor Franco is a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, which bestowed on him a Cross for his service of 20 years as Representative of the Eastern Lieutenancy of the United States at the headquarters of the order in Rome. He is a Magisterial Chaplain of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta.

Monsignor Franco was educated in the United States and Italy. He was ordained a priest as an alumnus of the Pontifical Roman Seminary at the rather young age of 22 years. He received a doctorate in biblical theology from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, graduating magna cum laude, when he was not yet 24. He earned a master’s degree in sociology from Fordham University in New York and later received a degree in canon law (JCL) at the Lateran University.In the summer of 1956, he served as Assistant Pastor at the Church of

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in the Bronx, and then served as Assistant Pastor at Saint Dominic’s Church, also in the Bronx, and at the Assumption Parish in Staten Island. Beginning in 1962, he was Assistant to Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, at the National Office of the Propagation of the Faith in New York. While in that office, he was a member of the Board of Editors of World Mission magazine and

contributed biblical articles to the New Catholic Encyclopedia. He also worked on the preparation of conciliar documents for the Second Vatican Council, which he attended as a peritus (expert) for the American Council Fathers.

In 1967, after a few months’ assignment at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Mount Vernon, New York, he was called to serve in the Diplomatic Corps of the Vatican at the Apostolic Delegation in Washington, DC (a “first” for a New York priest). The following year he was named an Official of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See at the Vatican. He remained there for 2 years, until he was named Official of the Congregation for the Clergy at the Vatican, where he served for 24 years as the person in charge of the “English Desk” which he had initiated.

He was named a Monsignor in 1971 and a Prelate of His Holiness in 1981. He has been Pastor of Saint Augustine’s Church in Ossining for 19 years, since September 1994, and he has also been a Judge of the Interdiocesan (for the whole state of New York) Ecclesiastical Tribunal (the Court of Appeals for the Province of New York). He is also currently a member of the Advisory Board for the Cause of Beatification of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen and a board member of the Pontifical Path to Peace Foundation.

Frequently he has been TV commentator on Vatican and Church events for FOX, NBC, Newsmax TV and RAI (the main Italian TV network).

He is an author and has widely accepted publications, including: “Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, Mentor and Friend” (2014).

“Six Popes” (2021), no.1 on the Amazon list of new releases.