A Mass of Christian Burial for Msgr. Gerard J. Arella, pastor emeritus of St. Mark’s parish, Sheepshead Bay, was celebrated Feb. 3 in the chapel at Immaculate Conception Center, Douglaston. He died Jan. 31 at Bishop Mugavero Residence, Douglaston. He was 88.
Born in Manhattan, he was baptized at St. Monica’s Church, East Side, and attended Cathedral College in Brooklyn; Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, L.I. He was ordained May 29, 1954 by Bishop Thomas E. Molloy at St. James Pro-Cathedral, Downtown Brooklyn.
He did post-ordination studies at North American College, and Gregorian University, both in Rome.
He was assigned to St. Clement Pope parish, South Ozone Park, 1954-55; served on the faculty of Cathedral College, 1955-56; and was a member of the Diocesan Curia from 1959 to 1979. He served as defender of the bond, 1959-72, and associate presiding judge, 1972-79, at the Diocesan Tribunal.
In 1979, he was named pastor of St. Mark’s, where he remained until 2000 when he retired, and moved to Bishop Mugavero Residence.
He also was a member of the planning committee for Pope Paul VI’s visit to New York in 1965, and a member of the Canon Law Society and Catholic Theological Society of America.
He was named a monsignor in 1990.
Auxiliary Bishop Witold Mroziewski was the main celebrant of the funeral Mass. Special concelebrants included Msgrs. Vincent Keane, Michael Cantley and John Casey, who preached the homily, and Fathers Eugene Coyle and George Cowan.
Msgr. Casey knew Msgr. Arella since their first year of high school together in 1942, and they studied together at Immaculate Conception Seminary.
“I will always remember how much of a loving and compassionate priest he always was,” said Msgr. Casey. “He always had such passion for his people and would do anything for anyone. He was a wonderful help and aid to so many people.
“Later in life he was suffering from so many ailments, but after he retired he was still helping even if it was just driving another priest to the pharmacy.”
“If God is for us, who can be against us. Msgr. Arella truly believed that and tried to live that way everyday,” he said.
Burial was in St. John’s Cemetery, Middle Village.