For parishioners who have regularly attended services for the past 18 years at the Shrine Church of St. Jude, located at 1677 Canarsie Road, you can catch Monsignor John Delendick either delivering a homily, greeting a community member or welcoming those who have decided to start their faith journey.
As the third of four children and a Queens Village resident, Msgr. John always knew he wanted to become a priest from a young age. He saw the kindness of the priests at the parish where he was raised, so he knew he wanted to be a man of service. Msgr. John started his altar year in the fourth grade, delivered sermons while attending high school, and in 1977, at 28 years old, made his sacraments to become a priest. He was given the title of Chaplain in 1982, and since then, he has also worked for the FDNY.
“When we are called to a third alarm or greater, we would check in and show ourselves to anyone who may need to talk or want to pray,” Msgr. John explained. In addition to expressing support, he attends funerals for fallen firefighters, visits injured civilians and firefighters, and participates in promotions and graduations. He is also present at the ceremonies for 9/11 and the longest-running ceremony for the Waldbaum’s Supermarket fire, which occurred on August 2, 1978.
A monsignor typically serves a parish for 12 years; however, Msgr. John’s age would allow him to continue his duties at St. Jude. He recalled the time he was asked to come into the room to discuss his time served. He told the Canarsie Courier, “I remember, I thought to myself, I guess I’m on my way, but then I was told that I reached an age that I can stay until I’m 75. They made me very happy, I told them.” Msgr. John moved into Holy Name of Jesus Roman Catholic Church, at 245 Prospect Park West, when he was 73. Although he is not a priest at Holy Name Church, he is always willing to assist.
Msgr. John has always lent a helping hand to his parish and peers; however, a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in February 2022 would have others reaching out to help him. Rudy Sugaste, a St. Jude parishioner since 1995, said, “His greatest impact on the community of believers happened when he got seriously ill. Everyone was deeply touched because he insisted on performing his job as a pastor despite his deteriorating health condition, losing a lot of weight and relying on a cane to support himself due to his sense of balance having been adversely affected. He didn’t fail to officiate the Holy Mass even while undergoing chemotherapy. Everybody in the parish and those who have moved away from Canarsie has been praying fervently for his healing.”
So, how can we repay a man who has done so much to keep our community happy and faith-filled? If you ask him, he would like to see improvements he has worked on for years. For example, he would like to see more members participate in fundraisers, the sidewalks around the church need to be fixed and the school’s two boilers need to be replaced. In addition, he would like to see the Rosary Society and Youth Club’s long-standing tradition flourish.
Our conversation is brought to a close by Monsignor John Delendick with the remembrance of the song “Thanks for the Memory,” which Bob Hope recited in the 1938 movie, The Big Broadcast of 1938. He wishes to express his gratitude to you all for 18 wonderful years.
On a personal note, I thank you, Monsignor John, for being there for my family when my parents passed.
Photo Credit: Marjory Lefevre