Msgr. Thomas Modugno, Pastor of St. Monica’s in Manhattan


Msgr. Thomas A. Modugno, who served as pastor of St. Monica’s parish in Manhattan and was director of the archdiocesan Society for the Propagation of the Faith, died Jan. 11. He was 83. 

Auxiliary Bishop Edmund Whalen, vicar for clergy, offered the Funeral Mass Jan. 18 at St. Monica’s. Msgr.  Anthony Frontiero, pastor of St. Matthew parish in Windham, N.H., delivered the homily. 

“I was a stranger to New York when I was appointed to serve at the Holy See Mission to the United Nations. Msgr. Modugno welcomed me to St. Monica’s to be a priest in residence,” Msgr. Frontiero told Catholic New York in an email. 

“He was a mentor, a friend (the past 23 years) and a brother priest who will be remembered for his great kindness and generosity of spirit…He was an authentic shepherd of souls.” 

Msgr. Modugno was pastor of St. Monica’s, which is now St. Monica, St. Elizabeth of Hungary and Stephen of Hungary, for 21 years until he retired in 2013. He was named regional vicar for East Manhattan in 2007. 

He was director for the archdiocesan Society for the Propagation of the Faith, 1980-1992. 

He was parochial vicar at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 1977-1980; Blessed Sacrament, Staten Island, 1970-1977; Assumption, Staten Island, 1966-1969; and St. Joseph, Croton Falls, 1966.

He was named a monsignor in 1990. In recent years, he resided at Epiphany parish in Manhattan.   

Born in Manhattan, he was ordained in 1966 after receiving a master’s in Divinity from St. Joseph Seminary, Dunwoodie. He held a bachelor’s degree in economics from Fordham University, and a master’s in counseling from St. John’s University. 

In a 2009 article in Catholic New York, Msgr. Modugno noted he had visited Rome many times, as a pilgrim and in official capacities when he directed the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. 

He explained that part of the attraction for pilgrims to Rome and the Vatican is an opportunity to “get into the environment of the early Church” and to appreciate the sacrifices undertaken by those who built the churches and other early historical structures like the Coliseum.

He told CNY, “A pilgrimage gets you to take the walk but also to pray and reflect on what was there before…We are the beneficiaries, we shouldn’t take it lightly.”

Burial was at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne.