Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor Week of May 25, 2024

Remembering Msgr. Richie 

Dear Editor: As I walked into the wake on Tuesday, May 14, for Msgr. Richie Ahlemeyer, I thought about how this humble, simple church of St. Camillus-St. Virgilius is where he served the Lord so well for 17 years. 

Just before I entered the church for the wake, I met a young woman. She told me that she was from Spain and came here a year ago, and Father Richie made her feel so welcome. 

I entered the church and signed the remembrance book (knowing, Father Richie, that you will always be remembered as “The Best”). 

I did not think all of this would be on my schedule for this week. Father Richie passed quietly on Sunday, May 12. I got to thinking that it was Mother’s Day this year. 

Father Richie’s mom used to come to my retreats years ago. When she was no longer able to attend, Father Richie asked me if I would visit his mom. I did just that. 

I picture his mom whom he cared for so well welcoming him into his heavenly home on Mothers’s Day. 

Father Richie was just the best in the way he was always there to listen, counsel, and be a presence of joy. (He made us all laugh, good for the soul.) 

On pg. 66 in my book entitled “Alleluia, A Grace to Hold Life’s Interruptions,” I wrote: 

“It is not so much what you do in life as much as it is who you are becoming. People I see as grace-filled are…” Msgr. Richie Ahlemeyer was on that list. 

When he saw it he said, “Oh, Ave, that was just so nice of you. Grace is good.” 

I know Father Richie felt very blessed and graced to be the pastor of St. Camillus-St.Virgilius Parish. He felt right at home with everyone. 

As I was leaving the wake held at St. Virgilius Church, a man was seated with a tissue and with tears. We nodded at one another (friends of the best). As I left church, I met Father Richie’s sister, Sister Maureen (a Presentation sister) and we hugged. I pointed at her heart and told her that her brother now lives forever in her heart, and she nodded with that wonderful Ahlemeyer smile. 

Outside I met a man who just got off his bike. As he went up the stairs, he made the sign of the cross. I think he knew he was coming to pay his respects and thanks to a holy man. 

As I walked up the street to my car, I found myself chatting with Father Richie telling him how much I enjoyed all the retreats I shared at the parishes where he was assigned. I remember how he set the rooms up and even made the coffee, always with a smile. 

I had a tear rolling down my face too. “Hmm,” I thought, “Father Richie, in your own very ordinary and sincere and kind way, you were Jesus’ love. Even when you made the coffee strong, we all just poured more milk into the pastor’s good coffee. 

You were for sure as many people will share, remember, and treasure an example of being a servant of the holy One here on earth. May your humble, caring, extra kind, and joyous way continue to touch people in wonderful ways. 

Msgr. “Father” Richie, you lived your faith, celebrated so well, and gave homilies that inspired and consoled. 

Your words of the Gospel came alive in your life lived so well. 

Thank you, heart to heart forever, for being the best. 

Sister Ave Clark, O.P. 


 Please Remember Memorial Day 

Dear Editor: At the height of COVID-19 there were no Memorial Day parades, and now they are back. 

The Little Neck/Douglaston parade is back again and is promised to be the largest in the country. 

Memorial Day is May 27 and is time to remember all those who gave their lives to protect all those freedoms we all hold most dear. 

These freedoms come with great personal sacrifice for those who leave family, friends, and jobs to serve the greater good. 

I served in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War and am proud to have done so. 

Today I am grand Knight of St. Anastasia Knights of Columbus Council #5911, the American Legion post #103, and the Catholic War Veterans and Auxiliary post #1979, and all serve to help veterans in need. 

So, please, this Memorial Day, honor those who served by attending various parades in your community. 

Also, if you know a veteran, call them and thank them for their service. And please fly the American flag on Memorial Day if you can, in their honor, both men and women. 

Frederick Robert Bedell Jr. 


 Our Lady of Grace Italian Class 

Dear Editor: I would like to thank Paula Katinas for the lovely article in The Tablet (“Gravesend Church Has Become a Haven for Learning Italian,” May 11). 

I would like to bring it to your attention that the Our Lady of Grace Italian Club meets every Thursday morning from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the Veltri Hall. 

Anyone who is interested in joining our group can contact Our Lady of Grace Church rectory at (718) 627-2020. 

Currently my students travel from Staten Island, Bensonhurst, Marine Park, and Mill Basin. Not everyone lives in Gravesend. 

When I started the Italian class on April 25, 2013, I never thought we would still be going strong today. 

Thanks again for publishing the article. 

Jeanne Nisi