Obituaries, Week of Dec. 19, 2020

Father Patrick J. Diffley

Father Patrick J. Diffley, a retired priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn, died on Nov. 8, at Bishop Mugavero Residence, Douglaston. He was 89.

Father Diffley was born on August 13, 1931, in Ireland. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 1, 1963.

Father Diffley served as parochial vicar of the Parishes of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Bensonhurst; Saint Sebastian, Woodside; Holy Innocents, Flatbush; St. Pascal Baylon, St. Albans; St. Francis de Sales, Bell Harbor; St. Anastasia, Douglaston; and St. Gabriel, East Elmhurst.

“We are all saddened by the passing of our Uncle Patrick and are recalling fond memories of his visits to Ireland. He was a lovely man with a brilliant mind who always listened and enjoyed the company of others,” wrote his nephew Con Diffley in his Dignity Memorial funeral page.

Edward Conroy, who was a parishoner at St. Francis de Sales remembers him with affection. “I remember Father Diffley from St. Francis de Sales. I used to work in the church. A very holy man. My mother used to type his papers when was doing graduate work. Rest In peace, Father!” he said.

A funeral Mass was held on Nov. 12, at 10:30 am at American Martyrs Church, Bayside, NY. Auxiliary Bishop Witold Mroziewski was the principal celebrant and Father Peter Rayder, the special concelebrant. Father James Devine was the homilist. The burial was at St John’s Cemetery, Middle Village, NY.

Sister Helen Geagan, C.S.J.,

Sister Helen Geagan, C.S.J., formerly Sister Immaculate Corde, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph for 72 years, died on Oct. 30.

She entered the Congregation in 1947 from her home parish, St. Christopher’s, Baldwin.

Sister Helen became a teacher in the elementary grades, ministering initially in Queens. She taught in St. Bernard’s in Levittown for 22 years and for 11 years at Holy Name of Mary, Valley Stream.

She was very involved in the parishes where she taught, teaching in the CCD programs, serving on the Parish Council and the School Board as well as helping in the summer programs.

Her ministries included: Mary’s Nativity, Flushing (1950-52); Ascension, Elmhurst (1952-59); St. Anthony of Padua, East Northport (1959-62); St. Augustine, Park Slope (1962-63); St. Joachim, Cedarhurst (1963-65); Holy Family, Flushing (1965-66); St. Bernard, Levittown (1966-90); Holy Name of Mary, Valley Stream (1990-2001). She retired in 2014.

Her wake and Mass of Christian Burial were held in Sacred Heart Chapel, on Nov. 4, followed by her interment in Calvary Cemetery, Brentwood.

Sister Matthew Mary Gay, C.S.J., a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph for 71 years, died on May 12, while residing in Maria Regina Residence, Brentwood.

Sister Matthew Mary Gay, C.S.J.

She earned a BS in Secondary Education from St. John’s University in 1962, followed by an MS in Administration/Supervision from St. John’s in 1982. In between 1962 and 1982 she was awarded three Math grants from Manhattan College, Adelphi University and Brooklyn College.

Her ministries included: St. Agnes Seminary, Flatbush/Madison Gardens (1951-53); St. Francis de Sales, Belle Harbor (1953-54); St. Francis of Assisi, Prospect Lefferts Gardens (1954-60); Most Precious Blood, Long Island City (1960-62); St. Joseph HS, Downtown Brooklyn (1962-65); St. Brendan HS, Midwood (1965-73); Holy Cross, Flatbush (1973-76); St Brendan HS Asst. Principal (1976-78); Our Lady of Victory, Floral Park, Principal (1978-88); Sacred Heart Academy, Hempstead (1988-94); Holy Family, Flushing, Principal (1994-2001);The Mary Louis Academy HS, Jamaica Estates (2001-07). 

Her burial was on May 15 at the Sister’s Cemetery, Brentwood. 

Sister Margaret Raibaldi, C.S.J., formerly Sister Ann de Chantal, a Sister of St. Joseph for 55 years, died on May 12, while residing at Our Lady of Snows, Floral Park.

Sister Margaret Raibaldi C.S.J.

Sister Margaret entered the congregation in 1955.

She earned a BS degree in Elementary Education from Brentwood College in 1961 and an MA in Religious Education from La Salle University in 1976.

Her ministries included: St. Agnes, Carroll Gardens (1958-60); Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Long Island City ((1961-63); St. Clare, Rosedale (1963-68); St. Matthew, Crown Heights (1968-70); Blessed Sacrament, Cypress Hills (1970-78); Brooklyn Diocesan Office (1976-81); St. Robert Bellarmine, Bayside (1981-84); Sacred Heart parish, Glendale (1984-2016).


Sister Lucy Hobbs, C.S.J., formerly Sister St. Lucy, a Sister of St. Joseph for 74 years, died on May 8.

Sister Lucy Hobbs C.S.J.

Sister Lucy entered the congregation in 1946. She was an excellent educator and in her later years worked as a librarian. 

She earned a BS degree in English from St. John’s University and an MA in American Literature. She did post graduate work in Leadership at Plattsburg University; Curriculum Improvement at Fordham University and Methodology in Teaching English at St. Joseph College.

Her ministries included: St. Agnes Seminary, Flatbush/Madison Gardens (1948-51); St. Matthew, Crown Heights (1951-53); Holy Child, Richmond Hill (1953-64); St. Joachim, Cedarhurst (1964-67); Bishop McDonnell HS, Fort Greene (1967-70); Principal of Sacred Heart, North Merrick {1970-72); The Mary Louis Academy HS, Jamaica Estates (1972-2003); Rockville Centre Diocesan Office (2003-14). She retired in 2014.

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