Msgr. Richard J. Guastella, a longtime pastor on Staten Island and one of the most respected priests in the archdiocese, died April 9. He was 73.
According to a letter on the St. Clare’s parish website, Msgr. Guastella died early in the morning hours after battling COVID-19, which resulted in his hospitalization last week.
The letter, remarking on the date of the death on Holy Thursday, said, “It is fitting that the Lord chose to call Father home, after nearly 48 years of priesthood, on the day that we celebrate the Supper of the Lord, the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood. He is indeed a priest forever.”
Cardinal Dolan will preside at the burial to take place Tuesday, April 14, at noon, at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne.
A Memorial Mass will be offered at a later date.
Msgr. Guastella had served as a pastor on Staten Island for more than 30 years, first at Holy Rosary, 1987-2008, and then at St. Clare’s, where he became pastor in 2008.
He was parochial vicar of two parishes, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Manhattan, 1983-1987, and Holy Rosary, the Bronx, 1972-1980.
From 1980 to 1983, he served as vocation director for the archdiocese.
Born in New York City, he attended Cathedral College and St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, where he completed his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by Cardinal Terence Cooke at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1972.
He was named a monsignor in 1995.
The letter on the parish website indicated that Msgr. Guastella’s brother Joseph died April 2.
A full obituary will appear in Catholic New York’s next issue.