Obituaries, Week of May 30, 2020

Brooklyn Pastor Remembered For Bringing ‘People to Christ’

Msgr. John C. Tosi, who directed diocesan liturgies for 15 years and was pastor of St. Luke’s parish, Whitestone, for the past 15 years, died on May 23, at St. Luke’s rectory, after two weeks of at-home hospice care. He suffered from a coronary condition for the past several years. He was 73.

Born in Flushing, he attended St. Ann’s School; Msgr. McClancy H.S., East Elmhurst; Cathedral College, Douglaston; and Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington. He was ordained May , 1973 by Bishop Francis J. Mugavero at St. James Pro-Cathedral, Downtown Brooklyn.

He was named a Monsignor in 1997 and also was a member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. He served as an assistant at Our Lady of Grace, Howard Beach, 1973-87 and Resurrection-Ascension, Rego Park, 1987-91.

In 1991, he was appointed executive secretary of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission, a position he held until 2005. In 1995, he assumed the additional duty of rector of St. James Cathedral, Downtown Brooklyn.

In January 2005, Msgr. Tosi was named pastor of St. Luke’s, where he remained until his death.

Father Thomas V. Doyle, a long-time friend, recalled how Msgr. Tosi had rebuilt St. Luke’s Church and made many renovations to the Queens parish based on his experiences with the Diocesan Liturgical Commission.

“One of the things that people have been talking about these past few days is just how personable he could be,” said Father Doyle. “We remember at his 40th-anniversary celebration when he was asked about how he wanted to be remembered, he said, ‘I tried to be a good priest. I tried to bring people to Christ.’ I think that’s how people will remember him.”

In a Facebook post, Father Peter Penton, who spent his first five years as a priest at St. Luke’s, called Msgr. Tosi, “a good priest, a good friend, a good mentor, and a good brother priest. He was always there for me.”

Father Joseph Gibino, pastor of Holy Trinity parish, Whitestone, said that Msgr. Tosi will be remembered “for all those years leading the Liturgy Office.”

“He brought a sense of a certain style to the liturgy,” said Father Gibino. “John brought a unique elegance to the liturgy that is sometimes lacking. He wanted the liturgy to be the best that it could be.

“He also was convinced that no expense should be spared for the glory of God. All resources were to be used for God’s grandeur.”

Father Gibino said that “St. James Cathedral was one of the great loves of John’s life.”

“He regarded it as the seat of the Diocese. He was devoted to St. James as the center of the Diocese.”

Msgr. Tosi brought his love for the liturgy to his role as pastor of St. Luke’s, insisting “that the liturgy be the center of parish life.”

“His last year was filled with real physical suffering,” added Father Gibino. “But John would not give up. All his friends knew that he was going to die with his boots on.”

A private burial will be held at Mount St. Mary’s Cemetery, Flushing.

Maryknoll Priest Ministered in Chile

Father Ernest C. Lukaschek, M.M., a Maryknoll priest for 55 years, died on May 18 at Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, NY. He was 84.

Born in Brooklyn on Feb. 5, 193, he attended St. Barbara Elementary School, Brooklyn, and graduated from Brooklyn’s St. Francis Preparatory School in Jan. 1954.

He was ordained at Maryknoll, NY, on June 13, 1964.

After ordination, he was assigned to Maryknoll’s Mission Region in Chile.

He arrived in Feb. 1965, after attending language school in Bolivia. His ministries in Chile included the rural town of Licanten in central Chile, 1965-71; second alternate consultor for the Chile Region, 1968 and 1972l; pastor Hualpencillo Parish; 1978 pastor of two parishes in Antofagasta; 1980 assistant regional superior for Chile, 1980-88; regional superior of the Chile Region, 1988-89; pastor, Huamachuco Parish, Santiago, 1990-96; established the parish of Blessed Pietro Bonilli, Santiago, 1997; assistant regional superior, 1997, and regional superior, 1998.

From Oct. 00 until his death, Father Lukaschek served in several positions in the U.S. Region in Maryknoll.

A funeral Mass was celebrated in Queen of Apostles Chapel on May 20.

Father Kevin Hanlon was Principal Celebrant and homilist. Burial followed in the Maryknoll Society Cemetery.

Sister Rose Christopher McKeegan, M.M., a Maryknoll Sister for 70 Years, died on April , at the Maryknoll Sisters Center in Maryknoll, NY. She was 89.

Mary Jane Elizabeth was born on May 3, 1930 in Brooklyn, and received her primary education in St. Anthony of Padua School, Greenpoint. From 1944-1948, she attended St. Joseph Commercial High School. After graduation, she entered the Maryknoll Sisters Novitiate on Sept. 6, 1950, receiving the name Sister Rose Christopher. She made her First Vows on March 7, 1953, and Final Vows on March 7, 1959, both at the Maryknoll Sisters Center.

In 1959, she received her first overseas mission assignment to Bolivia, where she served for over 55 years. During her ministry
she taught at a high school in Riberalta, 1961-1964, and the Maryknoll High School in Cochabamba, 1964-80, and 1982-99.
In 1965, Sister Rose initiated the Girl Scouts Program in Cochabamba and served as its Commissioner for 18 years.

She remained in Cochabamba from 1999- 2014, as a member of the Santa Ana Parish. Sister Rose returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center in New York to retire in 2016.

Her burial was held on April at the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery, Maryknoll, NY.

Sister Catherine Zimmer, S.C., formerly Sister Robert Louise, a Sister of Charity-Halifax for 71 years, died on May 10, at Mount St. Vincent, Wellesley Hills, Mass. She was 92.

Sister Catherine served as a Grade 3 teacher at St. Nicholas of Tolentine School, Jamaica, 1963-68. She was a secretary at Mt. Manresa Retreat House, St. Ephrem Parish, Dyker Heights, and at St. Angela Hall Academy, 1984-98. Sister Catherine also taught and lived in Rockville Centre diocese, Staten Island, British Columbia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Nova Scotia.

In 2012, she retired and resided at Marillac Residence, Wellesley Hills, until her death.

A memorial Mass will be held at a later date at Marillac Residence, Wellesley, Mass.

2 thoughts on “Obituaries, Week of May 30, 2020

  1. Msgr. Tosi was a very kind priest. He was especially comforting when my husband Bob, who had been the Scoutmaster at St. Luke’s for 33 years died. He allowed the more than 50 Scouts present to say their oath at the end of the funeral Mass. He said he normally did not swerve from the proper order of Mass, but allowed it in this extraordinary situation. God blessed you, Msgr. Tosi, you are home now. You made us better Catholics.

  2. He was one of my favorite priests Monsignor . John tosi,
    Of St.Lukes Whitestone.N.Y.
    When he spoke u listened, he was old school!
    His sermons were awesome!
    After his operation I had given him a get well card!
    From st..francis hospital!
    He will be sorely missed!
    God Bless