Ex-Film Director, Soccer Player to be Ordained Catholic Priest by Pope Francis on Sunday

Pope Francis ordains a priest in St. Peter's Basilica, April 26, 2015./ Bohumil Petrik/CNA.

Pope Francis will ordain nine men to the priesthood on Sunday, including a former film director and a 28-year-old soccer player who turned down a chance to play for the team A.S. Roma.

In 2010, Samuel Piermarini was playing for the under-17 team of Italy’s Serie D soccer association, Ostia Mare.

After tryouts, Piermarini was offered a chance to sign as second goalkeeper for the youth team of A.S. Roma, part of Italy’s Serie A soccer league, in the national youth championships, according to the newspaper La Repubblica.

Piermarini said he decided not to accept the proposal, however, because he knew on that team he would have been warming the bench. “I refused because I wanted to play,” he told the newspaper.

He said he was also starting to realize there might be something else he wanted to do with his life.


The next year, Piermarini told his family that he felt called to the priesthood: “The call of the Lord did not come at a precise moment,” he said. “It was 2011 and I remember that day after day, inside of me, I felt that was the way I would be fulfilled.”

He entered the Redemptoris Mater seminary, and on April 25, Good Shepherd Sunday, he will be ordained a priest for the Diocese of Rome by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica.

“I can’t wait!” Piermarini said in a press release from the Vicariate of Rome.

The soon-to-be priest said that he still loves to play soccer. While in seminary, he created a soccer tournament with friends and classmates. He also played in the Clericus Cup, a soccer tournament for priests and seminarians studying in Rome.

The Rome native is the youngest of four children, and he said that his family was supportive of his decision to become a Catholic priest.

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On Sunday, Pope Francis will also ordain eight other priests for the Diocese of Rome, three of whom were born outside Italy. The non-Italians come from Romania, Colombia, and Brazil.

The nine deacons range from 26 to 43 years of age.

Among them is the 40-year-old Riccardo Cendamo, a former film director, who in 2013 was invited to show his co-directed short film “Regreso a casa” at the 11th edition of the Ischia Film Festival.

Cendamo has also taught directing at the Accademia Togliani. In a 2013 interview with the Italian web magazine The Freak, Cendamo said: “For those who love to tell stories, there is nothing more beautiful than sharing their own with others. Cinema is a very powerful medium and seeing your story come to life, roll on a screen as you imagined it, is priceless. It has the taste of a miracle.”

In advance of his ordination as a priest, Cendamo said: “If I look back now, I realize that the call to the priestly vocation has always existed, that love had to mature.”


After his ordination as a transitional deacon last year, Cendamo was assigned to serve at a youth theater in Rome. The theater was founded by a priest in 1993 to provide a place for adolescents to grow culturally and spiritually.

Hannah Brockhaus is Catholic News Agency's senior Rome correspondent. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and has a degree in English from Truman State University in Missouri.