Obituaries, Week of October 24, 2020

Godspeed, Father Fedigan: Jesuit, Minister to Hispanic Community

Father James J. Fedigan, S.J., a member of the Society of Jesus who served the Diocese of Brooklyn in weekend ministry at the parish of Our Lady of Fatima, East Elmhurst, died at Murray-Weigel Hall on May 31. He was 87.

Father James J. Fedigan, S.J.

Father Fedigan was born on June 3, 1932, in New York, N.Y. After high school he attended St. Peter’s College in Jersey City for one year, and then he entered the Society of Jesus at Andrew-on-Hudson, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on Sept. 7, 1951. After his novitiate and juniorate there, he made his philosophical studies at Loyola Seminary in Shrub Oak, N.Y.

His regency was spent at Xavier High School (1958-61) and Brooklyn Prep (1961-62), where he taught English, Latin and Speech.

Father Fedigan went to Woodstock College in Maryland for his Theology studies (1962-66). He was ordained to the priesthood at Fordham University Church by Cardinal Francis Spellman on June 10, 1965. He pronounced his final vows at Xavier High School, New York, on Feb. 2, 1968.

Father Fedigan began his pastoral work at St. Francis Xavier Parish in New York City. In 1975 he moved to St. Ignatius Parish, Crown Heights. During his 11 years there, in addition to his pastoral duties, he became pastoral minister in Family Services.

After that he spent a year (1987-88) at St. Sylvester Parish in Brooklyn, where he began to minister to the Hispanic community.

From 1989 to 2003 he resided at Murray-Weigel Hall, while working in Hispanic Family Ministry at St. Michael Parish, Sunset Park.

Around that time Fr. Fedigan began to have some health problems. For many years Father Fedigan spent the summers in the Bronx, doing ministry in Brooklyn, and the winters at the Gesù Church in Florida. He moved to Loyola Hall in 2004 and through the Catholic Family Movement (CFM) became Director of Family Services for the Diocese of Brooklyn and Director for the CFM Marriage and Family Retreats.

“Father Fedigan will be loving remembered and missed by his family; and all those whose lives he touched. His many many years involved with the Hispanic Community working with the Family Ministry Movement brought him tremendous fulfillment,” his brother John Fedigan told The Tablet.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a private funeral Mass was held at Murray Weigel Hall. Burial was at the Jesuit Cemetery in Auriesville, N.Y.

Father Davin, Passionist Priest and Canon Lawyer

Father Cornelius Davin, C.P., a Passionist priest, died on Oct. 4. He was 94.

Father Cornelius Davin, C.P.

He was born on Jan. 9, 1926, the son of James Davin and Loretta Schilken Davin, and brother of the late Father William Davin, C.P., also a Passionist priest.

He entered the novitiate in 1945 and professed his Passionist vows on Aug. 15, 1946. His final profession was on Aug. 15, 1949. Father Davin made headlines when he was “carried in on a stretcher” from the hospital — where he was hospitalized with hepatitis — “and sat in a wheel chair during the ceremony” to be ordained to the priesthood on Feb. 28, 1952, at St. Michael’s Monastery Church, Union City, N.J., by Auxiliary Bishop James Aloysius McNulty of Newark.

Father Davin had a Doctorate in Canon Law and administrated primarily as a Canon Lawyer.

Father Davin is remembered by his family of Passionists for his great sense of humor.

His funeral Mass was held at the Passionist Monastery with burial in the Monastery Cemetery under the direction of Bernard F. Dowd Funeral Home, Jamaica.


Carmen Aquilone, ‘Woman of Mercy’ and ‘Role Model’

MIDWOOD — Carmen Aquilone (née Ortega), a remarkable laywoman who served on the Board of Trustees of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens (CCBQ), and the Board of Directors for the Sisters of Mercy, and a parishioner of Our Lady of Help of Christians, died on Sept. 28.

Carmen Aquilone, ‘Woman of Mercy’ and ‘Role Model’

She graduated from St. Francis Xavier Academy High School and St. Joseph’s College. She later received her Master’s Degree in Social Work at Fordham University while also working as an outreach worker at the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO).

It was 1958 when Edward Aquilone spotted Carmen Ortega at work in a CYO staff meeting. He asked her out for lunch and then he realized he was in love. He said it was love at first sight for her too, but she had another devotion in her life as well, her faith in God.

Aquilone was an active member of the Diocese of Brooklyn. She worked as an adoption worker at Angel Guardian Home and served on the Board of Trustees of CCBQ, as well as the Board of Directors for the Sisters of Mercy for over thirty years. She was also the Supervisor of School Social Workers with the NYC Public School System. All while taking care of her five kids.

You may recognize her name from the “Carmen Aquilone Day Center” on Fulton Street in Brooklyn. The Sisters of Mercy named one of their buildings after her when she retired from the board. The building is a center for people with disabilities and she was one who will be remembered for caring for people who struggled. The Sisters of Mercy even awarded Carmen the title “Woman of Mercy” — a moniker earned by few since it began.

“She was the first thing that was a role model for me. She was unbelievably dedicated, she was faithful, she was reverent, she was strong, she was well rounded, and she was a fierce protector of those she loved. She really lived a good and faithful life,” said Sister Caroline Tweedy, who worked very closely with Aquilone on the Board of Directors.

A pancreatic cancer survivor and a lifelong reader of The Tablet, Aquilone never failed to make a good impression on all who had the privilege of knowing her.

“The thing that always struck me about her was her level of commitment. She didn’t just come to receive the Eucharist, she lived it. She lived her belief to the fullest extent possible. The Eucharist was the center of her life,” remembered Msgr. Alfred Lo Pinto, president and CEO of CCBQ.

Msgr. Lo Pinto also said that Carmen was the first to raise her hand whenever they needed volunteers. “And by the way, every time she raised her hand to volunteer, guess who had to drive her there?” her husband Edward quipped with a smirk.

There’s an old Jewish saying, “Marry a good woman and never have a bad day.” Edward and Carmen would have been married 59 years on Nov. 18. Edward said in all those 59 years, he never had a bad day.

Her family says she loved a good joke, but what she loved more was a bad joke — one with a botched punchline. She also liked to shop, but what put a smile on her face was going to Mass. She loved the whole atmosphere from the music to watching children receive Communion and listening to the homilies.

Mrs. Carmen Aquilone ultimately passed away from complications from a stroke. She is survived by her husband Edward and sons Matthew and Edward Jr. She joins three sons Michael, Vincent, and Peter in heaven.

Her funeral Mass was held at OLHC. Father Dwayne Davis, administrator there and pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas, was the main celebrant. Eulogies were given by Sisters of Mercy, Sister Camille D’Arienzo, and Sister Caroline Tweedy, Executive Director of St. John’s Bread and Life.

To quote a piece from Sister Caroline’s eulogy: “In Proverbs, it says this about a valiant woman: ‘Many are the women of proven worth, but for us, you, Carmen, excelled above them all.’ ”

Mrs. Aquilone was buried at Green-Wood Cemetery.

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4 thoughts on “Obituaries, Week of October 24, 2020

  1. I was privileged to have known Mrs. Aquilone as her dentist, and even in that peripheral role, I acutely feel the loss. It is my hope that Mr. Aquilone, Eddie, and Matthew can find some peace in knowing that Mrs. Aquilone touched so many people and left them better for the experience.

  2. Carmen was the kindest most decent person I knew . She was a mentor and beloved friend and made me a better person. She was someone all people could only aspire to be like. Carmen was respected and loved by everyone who knew her. To quote a Hebrew proverb, “May her memory be a blessing.”

  3. This is a tough one……..Ed and I were classmates (SFC 1960) but I didn’rt meet Carmen until some years later when Ed became the head of the Athletic Dept..There are insufficient word to properly describe Carmen. ……She was a warm, sensitive, intelligent caring woman…..who was upbeat and positive. I emjoyed every meeting (professional or athletic competition) in which I could spend time talking to er and getting to completely undrstand her sense or the world around us and the best way in which we as individuals could positively interact and produce positive results for those individuals in our midst. I will deeply miss her and I will remember her everyday in mjy quiet reflextions……….Carmen…..Please prasy for us in this world……..I miss you…………Jim Corrigan (SFC’60)

  4. yes, i met carmen when i was younger a lot younger almost 35 years ago. i did not know how fortunate i was to have her as a supeervisor. she was not intimidating when i met her, no not at all. it was like old friends meeting one another again. she took me around to all the schools to show me the job i would have to do in the ny public school system. i never felt awkward, no not at all. at first she had to observe me and i remember i left out the most important part of the observation , parental rights, and i thought i failed but carmen just mentioned to me after the interview, “ann, were you supposed to explain the rights to the parent.” oh i said that is a biggie, but then she laughed and all was well, as i retracted my steps. we did so many things inside and outside of school setting and on the holidays and on the phone and buying theater tickets and shopping that she became family to me. she helped me in so many ways, i cannot count now. i miss her and i will always miss her until we are reunited in our father’s mansion. oh you may have guessed i too made the Lord the Savior of my Life and i also shared our love for Jesus with Carmen. So it was a friendship meant to be having spoken to her almost right before the stroke. i did not know but i thought of her each day for some reason. i did not know, she would not want me to know. i will miss you Carmen, i do tonight as i write this. It was your moon and you died on my father;s birthday.