Obituaries, Week of Jan.30, 2021

Priest of ‘Many Talents,’ Who Loved to Travel and Meeting People, Dies at 76

Father Agnelo Casimiro Pinto, S.M.W.

Father Agnelo Casimiro Pinto, S.M.W., a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Boniface in Winnipeg, Canada, and a long-time resident at St. Augustine, Park Slope, died on Jan. 9, at Abbotsford Regional Hospital, British Columbia. He was 76.

Father Pinto was born on Nov. 3, 1944, in Gokak Falls, India. He was ordained a Priest on Dec. 21, 1969, in India. After arriving in Canada in 1979, he resided at St. Boniface Parish in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

From 1983 to 1990, he was the Priest and counselor for the Mission Institution.

Since 1995, he did work for over 20 years as a clinical counselor at St. Vincent’s Services in downtown Brooklyn.

“Father Pinto had so many gifts and talents. His gift for languages, his deep spirituality, and his sense of humor were three ways he connected with the people of the parish,” said Father Thomas W. Ahern, pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in South Ozone Park, who was the pastor of St. Augustine’s parish, Park Slope, when Father Pinto reside there. 

“Within a few minutes of being in his presence, you would have a smile on your face, and you might even be laughing. Because of his Christ-like compassion, he wanted to lighten your burden, whatever it might have been. I guess my one memory is the many hundreds of encounters I witnessed or experienced personally where Father Pinto shared his faith in Christ and his love for others,” remembered Father Ahern.

Father Pinto retired on Feb. 20, 2019, and moved back to Canada to reside in Abbotsford, British Columbia. He was cremated.

Frank J. Coppa, Historian of the Papacy and the Holocaust, Dies at 83

Frank Coppa

Dr. Frank J. Coppa, professor emeritus and longtime chair of the History Department of St. John’s University, died Jan. 13, at his home in Brooklyn. He was 83.

Educated at Brooklyn College with a Ph.D. from Catholic University, Dr. Coppa was an expert in Vatican history and a noted papal biographer. A scholar of modern Italian history, Dr. Coppa’s recent work was focused on the role of the Catholic Church in the Second World War; in particular, he drew distinctions between Pope Pius XI, who commissioned an encyclical against racism and denunciation of the Nazis, and Pope Pius XII, who suppressed that encyclical and whom some have called “Hitler’s Pope.” Dr. Coppa was involved in many interfaith dialogues and panels on reconciliation, and wrote and edited numerous books including “The Papacy, the Jews and the Holocaust: From Nineteenth-Century Anti-Semitism to the Third Millennium” (2006), and “The Life and Pontificate of Pope Pius XII: Between History and Controversy” (2013). He is also the editor of numerous reference works including the “Encyclopedia of the Vatican and the Papacy” (1999) and the “Encyclopedia of Modern Dictators: From Napoleon to the Present” (2006).

He was the first recipient of the Lifetime Distinguished Scholarship Award from the American Catholic Historical Association in 2011. 

Dr. Coppa is survived by his wife, Rosina, his two daughters, Francesca Coppa and Melina Coppa, and two grandchildren, Zola Coppa and Joseph Coppa Rizzo.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Frank J. Coppa Endowed Scholarship in History at St. John’s University. Donations can be sent by mail to: St. John’s University at 8000 Utopia Parkway Queens, NY 11439 (please put “Frank J. Coppa Endowed Scholarship” in the notes section) or can be made online at:

Sister Sally Ryan, R.S.M.

Sister Sally Ryan, R.S.M., a member of the Sisters of Mercy, Mid-Atlantic Community for 67 years, died on Dec. 23. She was 87.

Born in the Bronx, Sister Sally attended St. Joachim Elementery School, Cedarhurst, and Bishop McDonnell Memorial High School, Ft. Greene.

Sister Sally entered the Sisters of Mercy Novitiate in Syosset in Feb. 1953 and professed her final vows in Sept. 1958.

She received a BA in Business Administration from St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights, and a Certificate in Special Education from the College of St. Rose, Albany, NY.

Sister Sally began her ministry in education in Sacred Heart, Adelphi St. (1955-57), St. Jerome, East Flatbush (1957-58), St. Brigid (1962-68), Holy Innocents (1968-70) and St. Mary’s Roslyn, (1979-80).

In 1970 to 1979 she was involved in the Brooklyn Diocesan Program for the education of mentally challenged children in Bayside, and in 1980 she began as Director of Pastoral Ministries for Disabilities in the Office of Catechesis in the Diocese of Rockville Centre where she served for twenty-seven years.

Her funeral Mass was celebrated at Holy Trinity Church in Whitestone and burial was in St. Charles Cemetery, Farmingdale, NY.

Sister Maureen Regan, S.C.

Sister Maureen Regan, S.C., formerly Sister Rose Edward, a Sister of Charity-Halifax for 77 years, died on Dec. 27, at Caritas Residence, Halifax, Nova Scotia. She was 97.

Sister Maureen began her teaching ministry at Saint Sylvester School, in City Line, as a Grade 1 teacher, from 1945-47.

Returning to Halifax in 1947, she spent her remaining years ministering in Nova Scotia except for a brief four years in Puebec. In 2009, Sister Maureen retired to and resided at Caritas Residence, Halifax, Nova Scotia, until her death.

She is survived by her sister-in law, Carole Regan, and her many nieces and nephews.

A private vigil service was held in the Immaculate Conception Chapel at Caritas Residence on Jan 5. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Jan. 6 at Saint Agnes Church, Halifax, followed by burial in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Lower Sackville, NS.

Sister Joan Marie Schmidt, C.S.J.

Sister Joan Marie Schmidt, C.S.J., formerly Sister Charles Borromeo, a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph for 68 years, died on May 8, while residing in St. Joseph Convent, Brentwood.

She entered the congregation in 1952 from the parish of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Bedford-Stuyvesant. Sister Joan earned a BA degree in French from St. Joseph College, Brooklyn College and an MS in Adult Education from Fordham University.

She ministered over two decades as a teacher on the elementary/secondary levels in Brooklyn. Her ministries included: St. Athanasius, Bensonhurst (1954-55); St. Agnes, Carroll Gardens (1955-60); St. Pascal Baylon, St. Albans (1960-62); St. Angela Hall Academy, Clinton Hill (1962-63); Blessed Sacrament, Cypress Hills (1963-65); Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Sunset Park (1965-69); Holy Family HS, Huntington (1969-71); Bishop Kearney HS, Bensonhurst (1971-78).

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a private prayer service was conducted at her gravesite by the Leadership Team of the Congregation with a liturgy at a later date.

Sister Jeanne Stegmann, S.U.S.C.

Sister Jeanne Stegmann, S.U.S.C., formerly Sister Catherine Gerard, a Holy Union Sister for 68 years, died on Dec. 27 at Catholic Memorial Home, Fall River, MA. She was 86.

Sister Jeanne was born in New York City on Sept. 15, 1934.

She entered the Holy Union Sisters on Aug. 22, 1952 and pronounced her final vows on Aug. 22, 1961. Sister Jeanne earned a BA degree in Educations from the College of the Sacred Hearts and an MS in Education from Manhattan College.

She ministered in education for over forty years and served as principal of Immaculate Conception School, Astoria, for twenty-three years. After retiring, she continued to be involved in parish activities. When the Holy Union Sisters left Immaculate Conception Parish in 2017, Sister Jeanne’s declining health required a move to Catholic Memorial Home, Fall River, where she resided until her death.

Her funeral Mass took place Jan. 2 at Holy Name Church, Fall River followed by burial at St. Patrick Cemetery, Fall River.

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