St. Anthony’s Guild Director Dies

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NEW YORK — John Piccione, OFM, 44, the director of the Province’s St. Anthony’s Guild, died Feb. 22 of complications from leukemia.

Funeral services were held last weekend at St. Bonaventure Church in Paterson, N.J., where John had served for 10 years.

John, a professed Franciscan friar for 18 years and a priest for 13 years, died at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He had recently received a bone marrow transplant to treat leukemia, which was diagnosed February 2008.

John was born Sept. 25, 1964, in Brooklyn, N.Y., to the late Salvatore and Stephanie (nee Piazza) Piccione. He was baptized Nov. 21, 1964, at Good Shepherd Church in Brooklyn, where he attended the parish school. After attending Xaverian High School, John graduated in 1982 from Cathedral Prep High School, both in Brooklyn. He received a bachelor’s degree in social work from Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y., in 1986 and spent two years following graduation working for Catholic Charities at Bishop Bordman Apartments in Brooklyn before entering Holy Name Province.

He was received into the Order of Friars Minor June 23, 1989, at St. Francis Friary in Brookline, Mass., and professed simple vows there on June 2, 1990, before Anthony Carrozzo, OFM. He studied philosophy at University of Connecticut in West Hartford and University of South Florida in Tampa. He then pursued studies in theology at Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C., receiving a Master of Divinity in 1995.

John professed his solemn vows before Anthony on Sept. 17, 1994, at St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street in New York City. He was ordained to the priesthood May 13, 1995, by Bishop Peter Rosazza at St. Anne Church in Fair Lawn, N.J.

JPcollageService to North Jersey
John’s first assignment was at St. Bonaventure Parish in Paterson, N.J., where he served as parochial vicar for four years and pastor for six years. He served as chaplain to the fire departments of Paterson and West Paterson, the New Jersey Honor Legion, and the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office. 

In 2005, he was appointed director of St. Anthony’s Guild in East Rutherford, N.J., whose mission is to promote the spiritual well-being of its members, living and deceased, to aid the education of young men in their vocation to the Order of Friars Minor, and to serve God by helping the Franciscans in every field of apostolic work. He also was named guardian of Sacred Heart Friary in East Rutherford that year. Additionally, John served on the board of directors of the National Catholic Development Conference.

Funeral Services 
A wake was held Feb. 26 and 27 at St. Bonaventure Church in Paterson, N.J., which included a wake service presided by Richard Trezza, OFM, with J. Patrick Kelly, OFM, giving the ulogy.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Feb. 28 at St. Bonaventure Church with Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, presiding and Daniel Grigassy, OFM, Kevin Mullen, OFM, and family friend Fr. John Witulich of the Diocese of Brooklyn, concelebrating. Retired Bishop Frank Rodimer spoke at the Mass, and Kevin preached the homily. At the close of the liturgy, Thomas Cole, OFM, vicar at Sacred Heart Friary, expressed his gratitude to the many people who had helped prepare the services.

Interment followed at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Totowa, N.J. A memorial Mass is scheduled for noon on March 7 at John’s home church, Good Shepherd in Brooklyn.

John is survived by his mother, Stephanie, and sister, Antonia. Condolences may be sent to Stephanie Piccione, 14 May Walk, Long Beach NY 11561. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to St. Anthony’s Guild, 4 Jersey Street, East Rutherford, NJ 07073-1012.