Msgr. Ferdinando D. Berardi, pastor of Blessed Sacrament parish on Staten Island since 2019 and a former director of the archdiocesan Office for the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, died in his sleep Jan. 11. He was 71.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated Monday, Jan. 17, at 10 a.m., in Blessed Sacrament Church, where Msgr. Berardi also served his first priestly assignment, 1977-1981.
Cardinal Dolan will be the celebrant, and Bishop Kevin W. Vann of the Diocese of Orange, Calif, will be the homilist.
A Parish Vigil Mass will be offered Sunday, Jan. 16, at 6 p.m. Retired Auxiliary Bishop John J. O’Hara will be the celebrant, and Auxiliary Bishop Edmund J. Whalen, vicar for clergy, will deliver the homily.
The reception of the body and wake will take place at Blessed Sacrament Jan. 16, from 3 to 6 p.m.
Msgr. William J. Belford, dean of Staten Island and pastor of St. Teresa of the Infant Jesus, said Blessed Sacrament hosted a deanery meeting and dinner for all Staten Island priests and deacons Jan. 10.
“It was very enjoyable because he came from Mount Carmel on Staten Island, and I grew up at St. Rita’s on Staten Island,” Msgr. Belford told CNY of their dinner conversation. “We were sharing stories of the priests we knew and it was very nice to grow up at that time in our parishes.
“He was remembering with love and appreciation so many of the priests that he knew as role models and teachers. It was a big shock that he died overnight, but I would be able to say that we were happy. He had a very good life and did a lot of good for others. A lot of people would think it was really a gift to have such a meaningful life with many friends and admirers.”
Msgr. Berardi served as superior of Casa Santa Maria, a residence for English-speaking priests continuing graduate studies in Rome that is part of Pontifical North American College, 2014-2019, and was pastor of Holy Family, New Rochelle, 2002-2014.
“That’s one of the reasons I took the assignment. I was born there,” he said of his Rome assignment in a 2013 CNY story. “I lived two years at the Casa as a student and I hoped at some point to have another extended time in Rome. I still have relatives in Italy. So it will be great to be once again with that part of the family.”
He served as director of the archdiocesan Office for the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, 1993-2002. He also was dean of the Catechetical Institute at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie; a vice chancellor of the archdiocese; and co-chairman and secretary of the ecumenical commission.
He was named a monsignor in 1995.
Born in Bari, Italy, he came to the United States with his family in 1958 and settled on Staten Island.
Msgr. Berardi studied for the priesthood at Cathedral College, Douglaston, Queens, and St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie. Msgr. Berardi was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Terence Cooke at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1977.
He held a master’s degree in liturgy from the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind., and a licentiate in sacred theology from the Pontifical International Institute of St. Anselm in Rome
His brother, Luciano Berardi, and his sisters, Vicenza Melluso and Rita Lombardo, survive him. Burial will take place in St. Peter’s Cemetery, Staten Island.