Obituaries, Week of June 22, 2024

‘A True Shepherd of His People’

Father Ralph J. Caputo, a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn, was born on June 29, 1949, ordained to the priesthood on May 3, 1975, and died on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. He was 74 years old.

After graduating from Cathedral College, Douglaston, with a BA in 1970, Father Caputo entered Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, N.Y.

Father Caputo’s first assignment was parochial vicar of Queen of Angels, Sunnyside. Father Caputo served as pastor of Queen of Peace, Kew Gardens, beginning in 1994. He then began serving as pastor of St. Bernard, Mill Basin, in 2001, his longest stint as a pastor, where he remained until becoming pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians, Midwood, in 2013.

He assumed senior priest status in 2019, which he held until his death in 2024. Father James King, current pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Whitestone, served with Father Caputo at St. Bernard from 2001-2003, Father Caputo as pastor and Father King as parochial vicar.

“We worked very well together,” Father King remembers. “Father Caputo was very pastoral. He spoke from the heart in his homilies, and he was very approachable, always available to his people.

“And he loved working with the students at St. Bernard School, and he was beloved by them,” Father King added. Father Caputo’s brother Gerard said the priest was “a true shepherd of his people.”

A funeral Mass, with Bishop Brennan as the celebrant and Father Timothy Lambert, pastor of St. Columba Church in Marine Park, as the homilist, was celebrated Tuesday, June 18, at St. Bernard Church. Father King was scheduled to be a concelebrant, along with Msgr. Joseph Grimaldi, current pastor of St. Bernard Church.

Interment followed at Saint John Cemetery, Middle Village.