In Memory of Rev. James J. D'Amato


Fr. D’Amato Remembered As Caring and Consoling

A Mass of Christian Burial for Father James J. D’Amato, 84, was celebrated Feb. 4 at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Flatlands. He died
Jan. 30, 2009.

Born in Brooklyn and baptized at St. James Pro-Cathedral, he attended Fordham University, and Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington. He was ordained June 11, 1949 by Bishop Thomas E. Molloy at St. James Pro-Cathedral.

He served as an assistant at St. John the Evangelist, Park Slope, 1949-66. He taught at St. Francis Prep, Brooklyn, 1952-56, and St. Joseph’s College for Women, Brooklyn, 1956-70. He also was on faculty at the State University at Suffern, N.Y., and was chaplain at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn. From 1966 to 1980, he was chaplain to the Holy Cross Brothers in Flatbush. From 1970 to 1984, he resided at St. Thomas Aquinas Rectory, Flatlands.

In 1995, he retired as a senior priest. Since October of 2007, he has resided at Ozanam Hall, Bayside.

Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros was the main celebrant of the funeral Mass. Special concelebrants included Fathers Thomas V. Doyle, Jerome J. Schmidt, and Antonius P. Gopaul. Msgr. Austin Bennett preached the homily.

Msgr. Bennett’s memories of Father D’Amato go back 65 years to when they were students at Immaculate Conception Seminary. They shared a Jesuit background, which was evident in intellectual discussions they enjoyed together while walking “the circle” at the seminary.

Both enjoyed reading books on philosophy and shared a love of nature. “We had great times together. We would have supper together during which we would solve the problems of the world.”

Msgr. Bennett introduced his friend to sailing. They owned a boat, which Father D’Amato christened the Ni Sencho (Two Captains in Japanese) that they sailed from Sheepshead Bay.

“He was a great man and a great priest,” Msgr. Bennett said of his best friend. “He was good at consoling people. He did his job.” Msgr. Bennett most admired his friend’s “ability to adjust to things and the peaceful way about him. He never got upset.”

Father D’Amato was nursed during his final illness by the Carmelite Sisters at Ozanam Hall, who Msgr. Bennett says did an “extraordinary job.” “We talked together about dying,” Msgr. Bennett said and he knew his friend “was ready to go to Jesus. I’m sad, but happy that he will be with Jesus forever.”

Burial was in Holy Cross Cemetery, Flatbush.

This obituary appeared in The Tablet, 2/7/2009, p.7.