Father Zanon Served God, Country with Faithful Zeal

Father Zanon

A Mass of Christian Burial for Father Romano A. Zanon, a retired priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn, was to be celebrated at St. Andrew Avellino Church, Flushing, Oct. 12.

He died Oct. 5, at North Shore University Hospital-Northwell Health, Manhasset, L.I. He would have been 91 next month.

Auxiliary Bishop Raymond F. Chappetto was to be the main celebrant of the funeral Mass.

Born in Trento, Italy, he attended Haaren Aviation H.S., Manhattan; New York University’s Washington Square College of Arts and Sciences, Manhattan; Jordan Seminary in Menominee. Mich.; and Mount St. Mary Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md. He did graduate work at Iona and Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, N.J.

He was ordained to the priesthood on May 28, 1966.

He served as an assistant at St. Rita’s, East New York, 1966-77, and St. Gabriel, East Elmhurst, 1977-82.

He was named administrator of St. Benedict the Moor parish, Jamaica, in 1982. He became pastor there in February, 1985 and served there until 1994.

In 1983, he was appointed chaplain of Mount St. Mary’s Cemetery, Flushing, with residence at Sacred Heart, East Glendale.

He retired in 2012 and remained in residence at Sacred Heart parish. Two years later, he moved to the Bishop Mugavero Residence for Senior Priests in Douglaston.

Before entering the priesthood, he worked as a professional photographer and production manager. A U.S. Army veteran of both World War II and the Korean War, he was awarded a citation for meritorious service with the Eighth Army in Korea and also earned the Korean Service Ribbon with Silver Star.

Msgr. Michael J. Reid, chief operating officer of Catholic Cemeteries for the Diocese of Brooklyn, knew Msgr. Zanon for many years.

“Father Zanon loved his life and job,” said Msgr. Reid. “He found his work very fulfilling and rewarding. He developed great love for the church ritual of the burial. He was a great source of comfort and care for families during the time of their greatest need. So many people were able to find peace because of the love and care he was able to provide for them.

“He was outgoing and outspoken but always reliable and was always there. He truly loved being a priest and was great at what he did,” he said.

Burial was scheduled for Mount St. Mary Cemetery.

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7 thoughts on “Father Zanon Served God, Country with Faithful Zeal

    It was raining, and I was alone on my way to my mother’s grave over thirty years ago. She had just been buried two days ago when I stopped in my tracks. I saw a priest standing behind a casket on a grave in the rain, all alone. A priest, a coffin, and no one else. I stopped to show my respect. I remained there for the whole service, standing in the rain. Afterward, Father Zanon asked me if I was family. I said no. I was on my way to my mother’s grave. Father Zanon replied, “I would like to walk with you to your mother’s grave, and bless her.” Who else would walk with me, in the rain, without an umbrella to a grave of someone he did not know. He blessed Mama in the rain, and this was the beginning of a long friendship.

    October 12, 2018

    Father Zanon

    I met you over thirty years ago, giving last rites on a grave, in the rain,
    standing all alone behind a casket, in the rain.
    I walked over to join in prayer to show respect.
    No one should be buried all alone.
    Where are all the people?
    In life, not being remembered is such a shame.
    Father, your sermon on that grave
    was as if there were a thousand people present.
    The deceased would be proud.

    In the rain, your voice rose into the clouds.

    I knew the raindrops were from God to let us know no one is forgotten.
    He shed his tears for those who are alone, never to be forgotten!

    I will always remember that day, in the rain.
    From that day on, I saw the sunlight.

    Thank you, Father Zanon.

    by Vincent J. Tomeo

  2. Father Zanon is my brother, What a beautiful tribute Mr Tomeo, will have to copy this treasure. Thank you. My name is Josephine T. Downey 9807A 62nd Terrace So., Boynton Beach, Florida 33437

  3. Fr. Zannon,
    You saved my life. You helped me through the worst
    Times of my life. I know for sure God reserved a a
    Beautiful mansion for you in heaven! Thank you for
    being there when I needed you most!

    1. I served as an altar boy at St. Rita’s from 1968-1972. Father Zanon was a kind priest and a man of God. I’m sure he was welcomed into paradise with those words “Well Done my good and faithful servant”

  4. I was in bed talking to my husband and thought about father Zanon who married us 30 years ago! I was pregnant and he told me that he couldn’t marry us. I sat on the rectory step and weeped he told me to come back in and proceeded to tell me he had to get permission from the archbishop, and that we would have to attend counseling for 6 months we did and we had the best most memorable wedding ever. He told jokes while officiating it was the best moments of our lives and we have it all recorded. He was our family Priest at St. Benedict Moor in Queens, NY since I was a child.

  5. Thinking of Father Zanon.
    The Reverend Romano A. Zanon was the chaplain at Mount Saint Mary Cemetery for over 29 years. My book, My Cemetery Friends: A Garden of Encounters at Mount Saint Mary in queens, New York, honor Father Zanon. He is the most prominent figure in this non-fiction novel. He was one of the most profound encounters this author had in the cemetery. My book is a celebration of life in a garden setting, telling the stories of meetings I had there for over 33 years. These encounters had a positive effect on my life. It will focus on yours, too.