Assignment Record– Rev. Francis A. (Frank) Masserella

Summary of Case: Ordained in 1941, Frank Masserella served in parishes of the Cincinnati archdiocese as a member of the Glenmary Home Missioners until 1945. From 1945-1951, with the exception of a year at Our Lady of the Holy Ghost Abbey in Conyers GA, Masserella was a Trappist monk at Gethsemani Abbey in KY, taking the name "Pius." Thereafter he was a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, working as a hospital chaplain, a high school faculty member, and assisting in a number of parishes. In 1956 Masserella was assigned as resident chaplain to Siena Retirement Home in Dayton, OH. He was on Sick Leave 1958-1959. For the next almost forty years, Masserella resided and ministered at Siena and assisted at St. John's parish in Tipp City. In 1993 the archdiocese reviewed his personnel file and found that there were complaints that he had inappropriately touched girls in 1952 and in 1953-1954. Masserella admitted to the allegations. He was allowed by Archbishop Pilarczyk to remain in "limited" ministry because, as Pilarzyk said, "it was clear that he no longer posed a threat to anybody." In 2003, after the U.S. Bishops' new policy of "zero tolerance" regarding the sexual abuse of minors, Masserella was removed from active ministry. In 2005 the Vatican ruled that he was to live a "life of prayer and penance."

Masserella died May 3, 2014 at Mercy Siena Woods Nursing Home.

Born: May 16, 1915
: June 7, 1941
Died: May 3, 2014


Start Stop Assignments Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Archdiocese of Cincinnati

Archbishop was John Timothy McNicholas, O.P. (1925-1950).


Masserella is not indexed in the 1942 Directory. Per his obituary, he was with the Glenmary Home Missioners 1941-1945.

1942 1945 Our Lady of Lourdes Otway OH 1/2 Administrator  
1942 1945 St. Mary's Manchester OH   This was a mission of Our Lady of Lourdes in Otway.
1942 1945 St. Anne's Buena Vista OH   This was a mission of Our Lady of Lourdes in Otway.
1942 1945 Holy Trinity Pond Creek OH   This was a mission of Our Lady of Lourdes in Otway.
1945 1946         Masserella is not indexed in the 1946 Directory, nor is he listed as at his previous or next assignments in the Diocesan pages.


Archdiocese of Louisville

Archbishop was John Alexander Floersh (1924-1967).

1948 Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani Trappist KY  

"Pius" Masserella, o.c.s.c.o.



Diocese of Savannah

Bishop was Gerald Patrick Aloysius O'Hara (1935-1959).

1949 Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Ghost Conyers GA    


Archdiocese of Louisville

Archbishop was John Alexander Floersh (1924-1967).

1951 Our Lady of Gesthemani Seminary Trappist KY Cantor 1951-1952  


Archdiocese of Cincinnati

McNicholas was succeeded by Karl Joseph Alter (1950-1969).

1952 Good Samaritan Hospital Cincinnati OH assistant chaplain "Francis" Masserella
1952   St. Mary's Piqua OH assistant  
1952   Guardian Angels Cincinnati (Mt. Washington) OH assistant  
1952   McNicholas High School Cincinnati OH faculty  
1952 1954 St. Patrick's

Cincinnati (Northside)

Masserella admitted to inappropriately touching girls in 1952-53 and in 1954

OH 2/2 St. Patrick's had a school with 178-175 boys and 168-169 girls.
1954 1955 St. Mary's Springfield OH 2/2 St. Mary's had a school with 135 boys and 125 girls.
1954   Civil Air Patrol     chaplain  
1955 1956 St. Edward's (St. Ann Mission) Cincinnati OH 2/3 St. Edward's had a school with 77 boys and 85 girls.
1955   DePorres High School Cincinnati OH faculty  
1956 1958 The Siena Retirement Home Dayton OH resident chaplain  
1958 1959 Sick Leave        



Archdiocese of Cincinnati

Paul Francis Leibold replaced Alter as archbishop (1969-1972), followed by Joseph Louis Bernardin (1972-1982). Bernardin was succeeded by Daniel Edward Pilarczyk (1982-2009).



St. John's Tipp City OH 2/2 1959-60. Masserella's obituary states that he served at St. John the Baptist in Tipp City for about forty years before his 2002 retirement.
1960 2003 The Siena Retirement Home/Mercy Siena Woods Nursing Home Dayton OH

resident chaplain until 1995

Retired 1990

Per the archdiocese, Masserella's personnel file was reviewed in 1993, and it revealed references to complaints that he had abused young girls in 1952-53 and in 1954. He admitted to the abuse. He was kept in ministry under restrictions from 1993 until 2003, when he was suspended due to the U.S. Bishops' "zero tolerance" policy regarding abuse of minors. Archbishop Pilarczyk stated that Masserella had been "allowed to be in limited active ministry because it was clear that he no longer posed a threat to anybody." 
2003 2007         Masserella is not indexed inthe 2004-2007 Directories.


Archdiocese of Cincinnati

Dennis Marion Schnurr replaced Pilarczyk as archbishop (2009-).

2014 Priests Commended to a Life of Prayer and Penance Dayton OH  

In 2005 the Vatican ruled that Masserella be permanently removed from ministry and that he was to live a life of prayer and penance.

Masserella died May 3, 2014 at Siena Woods Nursing Home.

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Sources: Official Catholic Directory (Kenedy & Sons, 1942-2015).

Archbishop's Statement, Cincinnati Enquirer, August 11, 2003
2 Priests Suspended; More Allegations Arise, Cincinnati Enquirer, August 11, 2003
Accused Priest a Former Educator, By James Cummings, Dayton Daily News, August 11, 2003
2 Priests Restored, Others Permanently Removed, Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 12, 2005
Former Area Priest Defrocked, By Jim Bebbington, Dayton Daily News, October 13, 2005
Accused Priests Remain on Payroll, By Tom Beyerlein, Dayton Daily News, April 22, 2007
Frings and Bayliff Funeral Home, May 3, 2014
Prayer-and-Penance-Sanctioned Priest and Death Honors, By Kristine Ward, National Survivors Advocates Coalition, May 11, 2014 

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Masserella's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with the allegations against him, as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegations we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on October 21, 2019.


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