RINGWOOD, N.J. — Cornelius Conti, OFM, a professed friar for 53 years and a priest for 48, died Nov. 14 at Holy Name Friary. He was 77 years old.
A Wake Service, presided by A. Francis Soucy, OFM, was held Nov. 16 at Holy Name Friary. The following day, Christopher Coccia, OFM, presided over a second wake service at St. Bonaventure University in Western New York.
The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Nov. 18 at St. Bonaventure by Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM. St. Bonaventure’s vice president for Franciscan mission, F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, preached the homily.
Burial followed at St. Bonaventure Cemetery in Allegany.
Cornelius was born May 30, 1933, in Erie, Pa., to Anthony and Elizabeth Conti, and baptized Charles. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from Gannon College, Erie, in 1954 before entering the Order of Friars Minor.
Charles entered Holy Name Province’s novitiate at St. Raphael Friary, Lafayette, N.J., in 1956, receiving the name Cornelius. The following year, he professed first vows. Cornelius professef final vows in 1960 and was ordained a priest in 1962.
Cornelius’s first assignment following ordination was as assistant registrar at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y. In 1964 he became a guidance counselor at Archbishop Walsh High School, Olean, N.Y., and in 1968, Cornelius was assigned to the admissions office of St. Bonaventure University in nearby Allegany. While serving at the university, he received a master’s degree in education.
In 1971, Cornelius moved to Washington, D.C., where he resided at Holy Name College while earning a master of arts degree from the Washington Theological Union. From 1973 to 1977, he assisted with the Franciscan Youth Apostolate at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City. He then moved back to Olean for two years to serve as chaplain at St. Francis Hospital.
Over the next decade, Cornelius served as parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Angels, Bronx, N.Y., associate at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, parochial vicar at St. Stephen of Hungary Parish in New York and parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Kingston, Jamaica.
In 1988, he returned to St. Anthony Shrine where he remained until 1992. Cornelius then returned once again to Western New York to serve as coordinator of athletics at SBU. In 1994, he was appointed pastor of the Kingston parish for two years, then resided for a year at St. Anthony Friary, St. Petersburg, Fla.
From 1996 to 1998, he returned to parish ministry, serving at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish in Hartford, Conn., before retiring to St. Anthony Friary.
Due to failing health, Cornelius was transferred to Holy Name Friary on Nov. 8, 2010.
Memorial contributions can be made to: The Franciscans — St. Anthony’s Guild, 4 Jersey Street, East Rutherford NJ 07073-1012.