May His Soul Rest In Peace

Age 79

Vincent A. Resta

    Reverend Vincent A. Resta, age 79, died July 19, 2009 at Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Kearney, N.J., where he had resided in recent years. He, most recently, was pastor of SS. Peter and Paul parish in the South Bronx, where he was assigned as administrator in 1990 and appointed pastor the following year.  He retired from Saints Peter & Paul in 2003.

    Born in East Harlem, he studied for the priesthood at Cathedral College and St. Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie.   He was ordained in 1955.   After a summer assignment as parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception parish on Staten Island, he served at St. Thomas of Canterbury in Cornwall-on-Hudson 1955-1959; Our Lady of Grace in the Bronx, 1959-1964; Holy Rosary, East Harlem, 1964-1971; and for one month in 1971 at St. Martin of Tours, the Bronx.

    In 1967, while assigned to Holy Rosary, he was one of four archdiocesan priests honored by the city's police commissioner for helping to restore calm in East Harlem and the South Bronx during a summer of community unrest.  He and three other priests (Msgr. Robert J. Fox of Spanish Catholic Action of the New York Archdiocese; Father Raymond J. Byrne of St. Paul's, East Harlem; and Father Patrick J. Carroll of St. Luke's, the South Bronx) led "processions for peace" and prayer services in their communities which drew hundreds of people and which the police said "did a great deal to calm the neighborhood."  The four priests, who were active in the "Summer in the City" anti-poverty program, received the Operation Friend award, a monthly honor established by a local Spanish-language radio station.   Police Commissioner Howard R. Leary presented the awards.

     Father Resta was named pastor of St. Columba's in the Chelsea section of Manhattan in 1971.

     In 1983, he was appointed administrator of Guardian Angel parish, also in Chelsea, and the following year assumed a dual role in the two parishes, but with the duties switched, becoming pastor of Guardian Angel and administrator of St. Columba's.   He was appointed administrator of SS. Peter and Paul and St. Adalbert's parish, both in the South Bronx, in 1990.   He was named pastor of both parishes in 1991, although St. Adalbert's closed shortly afterward and was turned over to the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. That same year, he was elected to the archdiocesan Priests' Council representing the South Bronx.

    Archbishop Dolan offered the Funeral Mass July 22, 2009 at SS. Peter and Paul Church.   The homilist was Msgr. Renato Grasselli, rector of Redemptoris Mater, a missionary seminary of the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ for vocations from the Neocatechumenal Way.   Msgr. Grasselli said that Father Resta, initiated the Neocatechumenal Way in New York in 1976, and was the first priest to invite this charism into his parish in the United States.   Years later, Father Resta welcomed the first group of 53 vocations from the Neocatechumenal Way when they arrived in the United States from all over the world in 1990 to be formed as priests of the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ.   He also offered the group the use of facilities of St. Columba's parish and then SS. Peter and Paul during the six-month period in which they prepared for the move to New Jersey.   Msgr. Grasselli said that "He was a tremendously generous person, not afraid to give everything he had materially as well as spiritually."   Msgr. Grasselli told Catholic News NY that Father Resta was instrumental in helping to establish Redemptoris Mater. "When he got sick, and retired, we invited him to live here." "He was a friend."

    Father Resta is survived by a sister, Marion De Angelo.  Burial was in St. Raymond's Cemetery, the Bronx.