Obituaries, Week of September 5, 2020

‘A Priests’ Priest,’ Dies at 82

Msgr. D. Joseph Finnerty

Msgr. D. Joseph Finnerty, a retired priest of the diocese, died on Aug. 23. He was 82.

Born on Sept. 11, 1937, in Brooklyn, he was pastor at St. Teresa’s, Woodside, 1984-90; St. Sebastian’s, Woodside, 1990-2002; and St. Kevin’s, Flushing, 2002-12.

He attended Cathedral College, Brooklyn, and St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, and was ordained June 1, 1963, by Bishop Bryan J. McEntegart at St. James Pro-Cathedral, Brooklyn.

Msgr. Finnerty served as an assistant at St. Pascal Baylon, St. Albans, 1963-69, and then was assigned to the faculty of Cathedral College, Douglaston, where he taught until 1977.

He also was an assistant at St. Brendan’s, Midwood, 1977-84, where he served as chaplain to St. Brendan’s H.S.

He acted as temporary administrator at St. Andrew Avellino in 2009 and served as the first coordinator of the Diocesan Irish Apostolate.

He was named a monsignor in 1988.

Msgr. Michael J. Hardiman, who succeeded him as pastor of St. Sebastian’s, called him “a really good guy.”

“He knew what the people needed, both materially and spiritually,” said Msgr. Hardiman. “He was great at celebrating the liturgy.”

Msgr. Hardiman also pointed out that Msgr. Finnerty was an excellent teacher and that many of his students asked him to perform their weddings and baptize their children.

“He was a priests’ priest,” added Msgr. Hardiman. “He loved to socialize with other priests.”

A funeral Mass was celebrated on Aug. 28 at St. Kevin’s Church, followed by burial in Mount St. Mary’s Cemetery, Flushing.

Fr. Joseph Daly, headshot
Father Joseph V. Daly, C.M.

Father Joseph V. Daly, C.M., a Vincentian missionary for 60 years, died at St. Catherine’s Infirmary in Philadelphia, PA, on June 14. He was 88.

A native of Astoria, Queens, Father Daly attended Immaculate Conception School, St. John’s Prep, and St. John’s University before entering St. Joseph’s College, Princeton, NJ, to study for the Vincentian priesthood. He pronounced his perpetual vows in 1952 and after six years of theological and ecclesiastical studies at Mary Immaculate Seminary in Northampton, PA, he was ordained a priest in 1960 by Bishop John O’Shea.

His first assignment was at St. John’s Prep and later to St. Thomas More High School in Philadelphia. After spending four years in Panama, he returned to St. John’s Prep in 1967, where he served as headmaster (1969-72). Father “Dales” — as he was known around campus — began his service at St. John’s University, Jamaica, in 1973 and would serve there until his retirement in 2015.

Father Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., the 16th President of St. John’s, remarked, “Father Daly’s tenure spanned five decades and four different Presidents, and we were all the grateful beneficiaries of his good counsel.”

“Central casting could not have produced a better example of what it means to be a Vincentian than Father Daly,” said Father Michael J. Carroll, C.M., Director of the Miraculous Medal Shrine and a longtime confrere of Father Daly. “His character, his career, his life’s commitment was in service to others and he did it so well for so long.”

Sister Elaine Roulet, C.S.J.

Sister Elaine Roulet, C.S.J., a Sister of St. Joseph of Brentwood for 71 years, who was a pioneer in women’s prison ministry, died Aug. 13 of heart failure at the order’s Stella Maris Convent in Queens. She was 89.

Sister Roulet, a native of Queens, was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993 for her work in prison ministry. Her ideas, now commonly accepted, included keeping women prisoners close to their young children.

Sister Roulet founded the Children’s Center at a women’s maximum-security prison in the Bedford Hills section of Westchester County to support mothers and their children and she created a visitation program to help children stay connected to their mothers.

She also founded Providence House in Brooklyn with other sisters, providing a home for women who had been released from prison and their children, “filled with God’s love, respect, companionship, guidance and for some, the first birthday cake they ever had, even as they turned 40 years of age,” according to the order’s obituary.

“Her dream to provide housing for parolees and supportive housing continues to unfold to this day,” it added.

Sister Roulet also helped found Mother’s House, Hour Children, and Our Journey, as well as a second Children’s Center. The concept of women being able to care for their children while in prison is now replicated throughout the country.

After taking final vows in 1952, she spent most of the next two decades serving as a teacher or principal at Catholic schools. She also obtained a master’s degree in counseling from Bank Street College of Education in Manhattan.

It was not long after she began her prison ministry that she realized the gaping holes that existed in the women’s lives. In designing programs for them and their children, Sister Roulet said the programs were not of her own invention but those of the women she served
— “the women in green,” a nod to the color of their prison garb.

“Her favorite earth sound was laughter, but she spent her life comforting those in pain,” read part of a toast to mark her golden anniversary in religious life 21 years ago.

“She didn’t know what a Metro card was, or the cost of the subway, but rode thousands of buses to bring children to prison to see their mothers. She never learned how to swim but swam every day and was a lifesaver to women in need. She thought ‘too much of a good thing is wonderful’ but dreaded the thought of receiving another award.”

Sister Anne M. O’Brien, R.S.M.

Sister Anne M. O’Brien, R.S.M., formerly Sister Mary Susanne, a member of the Sisters of Mercy, Mid-Atlantic Community for 63 years, died on August 12 at McAuley Hall Health Care Center in Watchung, NJ. She was 83.

Born in Brooklyn, she attended St. Jerome’s School and Mercy Juniorate High School.

Sister O’Brien entered the Sisters of Mercy Novitiate in Syosset in September 1955 and professed her final vows in March 1961.

She received a BA in English from St. Francis College, Brooklyn, and an MA in English from St. John’s University.

She began her ministry in Education in St. Brigid’s School (1958-59); St. Gregory (1959-61); St. Patrick, Kent Ave. (1961-67); Sacred Heart, Adelphi St. (1967-74); Mater Christi DHS in Astoria (1974-75) and St. Francis Prep, Flushing (1977-2008). Sister O’Brien also spent two years in child care at Mercy Home for Children (1975-77).

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

Mr. Luis Heriberto Bolaños, the father of Father Victor M. Bolaños, a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn who is presently ministering as the Administrator of the Parish of Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jamaica, died on August 8, in Quito, Ecuador, where all arrangements have taken place.

If you wish to send condolences, please mail to Reverend Victor M. Bolaños, Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, 88-19 Parsons Boulevard, Jamaica, New York 11432.

Mr. Yves Mendes, the father of Father Rony Mendes, a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn who is presently ministering as a Parochial Vicar of St. Brigid R.C. Church, Brooklyn, died on August 8, in Haiti, where all arrangements have taken place.

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