Msgr. Joseph P. Penna, pastor emeritus of St. Aedan’s parish in Pearl River, died Aug. 5 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Yonkers. He was 78.
He was at St. Aedan as pastor, 1995-2015, and administrator, 1994-1995. He retired in 2015.
A Funeral Mass was celebrated Aug. 8 at St. Aedan Church with Auxiliary Bishop Peter Byrne as celebrant and Msgr. Gerardo J. Colacicco as homilist.
“I saw in him a generosity and kindness,” Msgr. Colacicco told CNY.
Msgr. Colacicco said the two met about 40 years ago when he was a student and Msgr. Penna served on the faculty at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie. Msgr. Penna was on the seminary faculty from 1975 to 1994.
“He was our canon law professor,” Msgr. Colacicco said. “He was always clear in his teaching and pastoral in his approach. A priest friend of mine said the best homilies were in class. I think that captured the method he taught. He was pastoral and practical. He helped use canon law in such a way to grow in holiness.
“We became good friends. When I was sent to Rome to study canon law, he was a great mentor. When I was on the faculty at Dunwoodie, it was nice he was there. We often went to dinner together.”
Born on Staten Island, Msgr. Penna graduated from St. Peter’s High School, Staten Island, before studying for the priesthood at Cathedral College, Manhattan, and St. Joseph’s Seminary. He was ordained by Cardinal Francis Spellman in 1967 and named a monsignor in 1995.
He earned a doctorate in canon law from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
He was parochial vicar of Blessed Sacrament, Manhattan, 1973-1975; Our Lady of the Rosary, Manhattan, 1969; and St. Stephen the First Martyr, Warwick, 1967. He served on the staff and later as a judge of the Metropolitan Tribunal.
His brother, John, and sisters, Maria McDonald and Teresa Zaiens, survive him.
Burial was at St. Anthony Cemetery, Nanuet.