Photo: MM

* Birth in Avigliana (阿維利亞納), Italy (意大利): [11 September 1900]
* Ordination: [17 June 1928]
* Arrival in Hong Kong: [1957]
* Death in Hong Kong: [22 October 1985]

# Information according to Maryknoll Fathers and brothers in Hong Kong 1920-2010


Death of Mgr. Romaniello, M.M.

Mgr. John Romaniello, M.M., former Prefect Apostolic of Kwelin and one of the most colourful figures in the Catholic history of Hong Kong, died of cancer in New York on 22 October 1985, aged 85.

He was bron at Avigliana, Italy, in 1900, but his family emigrated to the USA when he was an infant, and he grew up wholly Amercian.

He joined Maryknoll as a young man and, after graduating from the Catholic University of America, was ordained priest in 1928. In that year the most prominent Catholic layman in the USA was hailed as the Happy Warrier. This is a name that could well have been applied to Mgr. Romaniello at every stage of his life. He fought the battle of life with courage and with unconquerable happiness.

After ordination, he went to work in Wuchow. In 1934 he was appointed Maryknoll Superior in Kweilin. In 1938, Kweilin was constituted a Prefecture Apostolic, an ecclesiastical region too young and underdeveloped to need a bishop, yet a diocese in embryo. Mgr. Romaniello was appointed the first Prefect Apostolic.

The years that followed were, despite war and disruption, among the happiest in his life. He loved Kweilin, and the Holy See had confided it to his care.

In 1950 he found himself shut out from his beloved Prefecture. He was saddened but the Happy Warrier did not lose heart, and he soon found new work. Hong Kong was filling with refugees. The economy was sluggish, jobs were hard to find, many were in want, many were hungry, there was an abundance of American flour, but Chinese housewives knew little about bread-making, Mgr. Romaniello had one of the great ideas of his life; he would turn the unwanted flour into noodles, which would be acceptable. He threw himself into this task with all his energy, and soon elaborate noodle machines were providing much-needed food for thousand. Soon financial demands became pressing, so off he went to the USA to carry the tale of his noodles to a generous pubic. He talked about noodles and explained what he was doing and sang the noodle song until he had enough funds to supply all the noodles that were wanted. His fellow countrymen nicknamed him ‘the Noodle King.’

At about this time he published a semi-autobiographical novel about his life and work in Kweilin, believing that there was need for a book explaining what had happened in China. This novel The Bird of Sorrow was later reproduced as a serial in the Sunday Examiner.

From 1955 to 1957, Mgr. Romaniello was director of the Collegio Maryknoll, Rome. On his return to Hong Kong he became director of Catholic Relief Services here, interrupting his work to attend Vatican Council II.

In 1971, he began what may be described as a vigorous retirement, based in Hong Kong but including much travel.

He retained his vigour until this year, when a sudden deterioration is his health alarmed his friends. He went to the USA in August to seek medical aid; but there was nothing to be done. Fifty-seven years of priestly work ended on22 October.

Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated in St. Joseph’s Church on Tuesday, 29 October.
1 November 1985



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這 位 在 意 大 利 出 生 的 美 籍 傳 教 士 , 在 擔 任 美 國 天 主 教 福 利 會 香 港 區 主 任 期 間 , 用 美 國 贈 送 的 麵 粉 為 大 陸 來 的 難 民 製 造 麵 條 , 因 此 有 麵 條 神 父」 的 雅 號 。

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一 九 三 四 年 , 他 奉 委 為 瑪 利 諾 會 桂 林 區 的 區 會 長 , 四 年 後 成 為 桂 林 第 一 任 監 牧 。

一 九 五 三 年 至 五 五 年 , 他 在 瑪 利 諾 修 院 教 授 傳 教 學 , 同 期 獲 得 耶 魯 大 學 碩 士 銜 。

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一 九 五 五 年 至 五 七 年 , 他 在 羅 馬 擔 任 會 院 院 長 , 其 後 返 回 本 港 服 務 , 直 至 一 九 七 一 年 退 休 。 一 九 七 九 年 , 他 曾 回 到 桂 林 訪 問 。
1985 年 11 月 1 日

Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers in Hong Kong 1920-2010, Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, 2011.
國天主教傳教會與香港, 何心平著, 香港中文大學天主教研宄中心, 2011.
先賢錄--香港天主教神職及男女修會會士 (1841-2016), 天主教香港教區檔案處, 2016.