Obituaries, Week of Jan. 14, 2023

Father Randall de Jesus Soto, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York and professor of Sacred Scripture at Saint Joseph’s Seminary and College, Dunwoodie, died on Dec. 21. 

Born on Feb. 19, 1966, in San José, Costa Rica, Father Soto was raised in Costa Rica and, for a brief time, in Connecticut. He responded to the Lord’s call to the priesthood and earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Seminario Central of San José. Father Soto was sent to complete his priestly formation at Saint Joseph’s Seminary and College, Dunwoodie. 

Father Soto was ordained to the priesthood in August 1991. In 1994, he was assigned to biblical studies, first at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and then at the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he completed his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) in 1996. He earned his Doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD) at the Pontifical Gregorian University in 2003. 

In 2022, Father Soto was incardinated into the presbyterate of the Archdiocese of New York by Cardinal Timothy Dolan and began an assignment as a spiritual director and a professor of Sacred Scripture at Saint Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, where he himself had received his priestly formation. Father Soto was a regular weekend assistant at the parish of Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Our Lady in Tuckahoe, New York. 

A Mass of Christian Burial for Father Soto was celebrated on Dec. 28 at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Tuckahoe. Cardinal Timothy Dolan was the principal celebrant. Interment followed at St. Raymond’s Cemetery, Bronx. 

Sister Agnes Theresa Schwintek, CSJ, a Sister of St. Joseph for 73 years, died on Nov. 27 in St. Joseph Convent, Brentwood, at age 92. Sister Agnes entered the community on Sept. 8, 1949, from St. Anthony’s Parish, Greenpoint, and St. Joseph’s Juniorate. 

She attended St. John’s University, where she received her BA and certification in English, as well as certification in administration and supervision. She attained her MA in English in 1968 from Manhattan College, Riverdale. 

Sister Agnes’ ministry encompassed elementary and secondary education in St. Angela Hall Academy; St. Joseph School, Hewlett; Queen of Peace, Kew Gardens; and St. Anthony’s in Greenpoint, where she taught the 8th grade and later became principal from 1972 to 1983. St. John the Baptist High School in West Islip was her next assignment, where she taught English until 1997, after which she became the receptionist at the Academy of St. Joseph, Brentwood, New York. 

Father Sean Gann celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial on Dec. 1 in Sacred Heart Chapel, Brentwood. Interment followed in Calvary Cemetery, Brentwood. 

Sister Corita Marie Ryan, 86, died Dec. 14. She served for 67 years as a Sister of St. Dominic. Sister Corita was raised in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, where she attended St. Barbara School. It was there that she first encountered the Dominican sisters. 

On Sept. 10, 1955, she entered the Novitiate in Amityville as a postulant, and on August 6, 1956, she was clothed in the Dominican habit and received her religious name, Sister Corita Marie. After pronouncing vows on August 8, 1957, she began her long ministry in education and social service. 

Sister Corita received a Bachelor of Arts in History at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, New York, and a Master of Science in Secondary Education at Iona College, New Rochelle, New York. For the first 15 years of ministry, Sister Corita taught elementary grades at St. Clement Pope, South Ozone Park; Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, Roosevelt, New York; St. Rose of Lima, Massapequa, New York; and Holy Redeemer, Freeport, New York. 

Sister Corita’s 20 years of teaching history to high school students began in 1972. During those years, she ministered at Maria Regina High School, St. Agnes Cathedral High School, and Kellenberg Memorial High School, all on Long Island. In 1988, she continued teaching history at Holy Cross High School, Flushing. She returned to elementary education in 1993 and ministered again at St. Clement Pope and St. Catherine of Sienna in Franklin Square, New York. 

The Mass of Christian Burial was held on Dec. 20 in St. Albert Chapel at Queen of the Rosary Motherhouse. Interment in the sisters’ cemetery immediately followed the Mass. 

Sister Margaret Rose Smyth, OP (Sister Mary Noella), died at age 83 on Dec. 19. She had served the people of God as a Dominican Sister of Amityville for 65 years.

Sister Margaret attended St. Sebastian School in Woodside and St. Agnes Academic High School in College Point. It was at St. Agnes that she met the Dominican sisters. 

On September 7, 1957, Sister Margaret entered the Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville, New York, as a member of the “Golden Rose” set. She received the Dominican habit and the religious name Sister Mary Noella on August 5, 1958. She professed her first vows on August 7, 1959, and her final vows on August 7, 1962. 

Sister Margaret received a Bachelor of Science in Spanish from St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens. She also received a Master of Arts in Urban Education and a Master of Science in Religious Education, both from Fordham University in the Bronx. 

Her ministry included 10 years of teaching at the elementary level at St. Thomas Apostle School in Woodhaven and St. Catherine of Siena School in St. Albans. Her next four years were spent teaching Spanish at Bishop McDonnell Memorial High School in Brooklyn. Sister Margaret was then called upon to serve as an elementary school principal in St. Catherine of Siena School in St. Albans and later in Our Lady of Solace School in Brooklyn. Sister Margaret excelled in her ability as principal in these schools. In 1985, she became the pastoral assistant at St. John Cantius Parish in East New York and served in that capacity for 11 years. 

Sister Margaret was the recipient of the Ubi Caritas Deus Ibi Award while she was at St. John Cantius for her work in establishing a training program for volunteers in the East New York- Brownsville area churches and for her efforts in joining with Catholic Charities in establishing rotating soup kitchens with other parishes. 

A funeral was held on Dec. 22 at St. John the Evangelist Church in Riverhead, New York. Interment followed at the Queen of the Rosary Motherhouse Cemetery. 

Sister Geraldine O’Neill, OP, died at age 88 on Dec. 23. She had been a Sister of St. Dominic of Amityville for 70 years. 

Sister Geraldine grew up in Long Beach, New York, and attended elementary school in Far Rockaway at St. Mary Star of the Sea. 

On Sept. 6, 1952, Geraldine entered the Novitiate of the Amityville Dominican Sisters, and on August 4, 1953, received the Dominican habit and her religious name, Sister Noreen Marie. She and her set, the “Pink Carnations,” professed first vows on August 7, 1954, and final vows on August 7, 1957. 

After first profession, Sister Geraldine was assigned to teach in the newly opened Notre Dame School in New Hyde Park. In 1958, Sister Geraldine moved on to teach in eastern Long Island at St. John the Evangelist School in Riverhead, and in 1966 she was transferred to Good Shepherd School in Brooklyn. Sister Geraldine completed her elementary school ministry as the principal of Holy Redeemer School in Freeport, New York, from 1972 to 1981. 

Sister Geraldine’s education degrees include a BA from St. Francis College in Brooklyn, an MA in Administration from St. John’s University in Queens, an MA in Pastoral Counseling from Iona College in New Rochelle, and an MS in Pastoral Ministry/Church Leadership from Fordham University in the Bronx. 

In 1981, Sister Geraldine began her long and fruitful ministry in Our Lady of Fatima in Manorhaven, New York. 

A funeral was held in St. Albert Chapel in Amityville on Dec. 28. A prayer service was followed immediately by the Mass of Christian Burial. Interment followed in the sisters’ cemetery. 

Sister Martha Marie Arnold, OP, died on Dec. 21. She was 88 years old and had devoted 70 years to religious life. 

Lucille Elizabeth Arnold received her elementary school education at Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Jamaica by the Sisters of St. Dominic. Later on, Lucille took the long trip to Bishop McDonnell Memorial High School in Brooklyn. It was at Bishop McDonnell that Lucille met Sister Bernadette Marie, who sponsored her when she entered the congregation. Lucille entered on September 6, 1952, and on August 4, 1953, she became Sister Martha Marie. She made first profession on August 7, 1954, and final profession on August 7, 1957. 

Sister Martha received a Bachelor of Arts from St. John’s University, Jamaica, a Master of Arts from St. Rose College, Albany, and a Master of Science from St. John’s University. She was an educator, first in elementary school in Brooklyn, Queens, and Nassau County. After serving as principal at American Martyrs, Bayside, Sister Martha began her long ministry in secondary education. 

After teaching social studies at Queen of the Rosary Academy in Amityville, New York, Sister Martha was back in Queens at St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows, where she ministered for more than 30 years. 

A Mass of Christian Burial was held in St. Albert Chapel at Queen of the Rosary Motherhouse on Dec. 29, 2022, followed by interment in the sisters’ cemetery.