Father Fabian Grifone, O.F.M., a former pastor of Most Precious Blood parish in lower Manhattan for more than 20 years, died Dec. 21 at Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan. He was 93.
He was pastor of Most Precious Blood, beginning in 1993 until the parish merged in 2014 with the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral through the Making All Things New pastoral planning initiative.
To keep the church financially secure, Father Grifone could be found in the courtyard of the church on Mulberry Street, along with several parishioners, selling religious articles to the many tourists who would visit Little Italy.
After the merger, Father Grifone retired to the community of Padua Friary on Thompson Street in lower Manhattan.
He was a longtime director of Francisan pilgrimages for the Immaculate Conception Province of the Friars Minor Order of St. Francis.
He also served as a pastor in Toronto, and was stationed at parishes in Brooklyn, Pittsburgh and East Boston, Mass. He was a missionary in El Salvador in 1954.
Born in Toronto, he was the youngest of nine children. He entered the Friars Minor Order of St. Francis in 1946 and made final vows in 1950. He was ordained in 1954.
In his formation for the priesthood, he studied philosophy at St. Anthony’s Friary, Catskill, and theology at Mount Alvernia Friary, Wappingers Falls.
He was preceded in death by his four brothers and four sisters. He is survived by 16 nieces and nephews.
A Funeral Mass was celebrated Jan. 8 at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Manhattan. The provincial minister, Father Robert M. Campagna, O.F.M., was the principal celebrant and homilist.
Interment was at Mount Alvernia Cemetery, Wappingers Falls.