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Coronavirus claims at least 7 more veteran pastors, leaving churches to celebrate Easter in mourning

Monsignor Richard J. Guastella
The late, Monsignor Richard J. Guastella, pastor of St. Clare’s R.C. Church in Great Kills on Staten Island, NY. |

Monsignor Richard J. Guastella, pastor of St. Clare’s R.C. Church in Great Kills on Staten Island, New York, died early Thursday morning after “bravely battling the COVID-19 which led to his hospitalization last week,” according to a statement on the parish's website. He was 73.

“It is with the utmost sadness that we share with you that our beloved pastor, Msgr. Richard J. Guastella, affectionately known as Fr. Richard, has returned to the Lord. Fr. Richard passed away in the early hours of Holy Thursday, April 9, 2020, after bravely battling the COVID-19 which led to his hospitalization last week,” the church 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 Holy Eucharist and the Priesthood. He is indeed a priest forever. We can all agree that this world was made a better place because God had blessed it with the gift that was Fr. Richard for the last 73 years. Now he belongs to his Maker,” the church added.

Guastella’s death comes exactly a week after the passing of his brother, Joseph, the church also noted.

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