A Mass of Christian Burial for Father John Gurrieri, a senior priest of the diocese, was celebrated Sept. 14 at the Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston.
He died Sept. 10 at Bishop Mugavero Residence, Douglaston, where he had been living. He was 75.
Born in Brooklyn, he was baptized at St. Finbar’s Church, Bath Beach, and attended public elementary school; Cathedral College, Brooklyn; and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, Md.
He served as an assistant at St. Gertrude’s, Edgemere, 1967, and St. Joan of Arc, Jackson Heights, 1967-71, before beginning graduate studies at Institute Catholique, Paris.
He served as the diocesan consultant for the liturgy, 1975-78, and then as associate director and later executive director of the U.S. Bishops’ Commission on the Liturgy, Washington, D.C., 1978-88. He served on the International Conference on English in the Liturgy from 1980 to 1998.
In 1989, he accepted an invitation from Cardinal Roger Mahoney to establish a liturgical studies program at Mount St. Mary’s College of Los Angeles, while also teaching liturgy at St. John’s Seminary, Camarillo, Calif., until 1993.
Returning to the diocese, he was an assistant at St. Frances Cabrini, Bath Beach, 1993-95, and pastor of St. John Cantius, East New York, 1995-2007.
Before retiring in 2010, he was an assistant at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Ridgewood, 2008; St. Andrew Avellino, Flushing, 2008-10; and St. Rita’s, Long Island City, 2010.
In 2010, he was released from active duty due to health problems. He moved to Bishop Mugavero Residence for retired priests.
Auxiliary Bishop Paul Sanchez was the main celebrant of the funeral. Special concelebrants included Father Joseph L. Cunningham, and Msgr. John J. Bracken, who preached the homily.
“We first met in our first year at Cathedral College and studied together at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore and then were ordained together in 1967,” said Msgr. Bracken. “We traveled together, we broke bread together, and he was a very much a part of my family.
“He had a love for the liturgy and believed it had to be celebrated correctly. He carried that around the world wherever he was teaching. For him, the liturgy was the vehicle that brought people close to God.
“When Pope John Paul II came to the diocese in 1995 to celebrate Mass at Aqueduct, John reached out to his contacts and was able to arrange for my mother to be one of the people who received Communion from the pope. That was just the kind of person he was. He always helped my family and so many others.”
Among the immediate survivors is his brother, Joseph.
Burial was in St. John’s Cemetery, Middle Village.