Former Rockaway Point Pastor Welcomed People

Father Cullinane
Father Cullinane

A Mass of Christian Burial for Father John Cullinane, the retired pastor of St. Genevieve, Rockaway Point, was celebrated June 4 at St. Thomas More Church, Breezy Point. He died June 1, one day before his 59th anniversary of ordination. He was 85.

Born in Brooklyn, he was baptized at Our Lady of Angels Church, Bay Ridge. He attended Manhattan College; St. Jerome’s College, Kitchener, Ontario; and Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington. He was ordained June 2, 1956 by Archbishop Thomas E. Molloy at St. James Pro-Cathedral, Downtown Brooklyn.

He served as an assistant at St. Thomas Aquinas, Flatlands, 1956-62; St. Patrick, Kent Ave., Fort Greene, 1962-67; Our Lady of Mercy, Forest Hills, 19667-85; and St. Anselm, Bay Ridge, 1985-96.

He was appointed pastor of St. Genevieve, Rockaway Point, in 1996 and served there until 2005 when he retired.

Most recently, he had been residing at Holy Name rectory, Park Slope.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was the main celebrant of the funeral Mass. Father Michael Gribbon preached the homily.

Father Gribbon first came to know Father Cullinane during their time together at St. Anselm, but even more so when his friend was pastor of St. Genevieve and Father Gribbon was an associate at nearby St. Thomas More.

A Spirit of Welcome

“In his ministry, Father Jack (Cullinane) lived a spirit of welcome in the name of the Lord,” Father Gribbon said.

“He had a great ability to welcome people into God’s love with his words and mannerisms.”

Father Cullinane was known in the beach community as the big tall priest who walked along the sand and greeted all in his path with a hearty hello, a warm embrace and “God loves you.” “He was tremendously warm and he loved people,” Father Gribbon said. “He always wanted to be with his people. He was their priest.”