Richard lived his life simply- he deeply loved his family-he idolized our daughter Anamarie, he cared about the welfare and happiness of everyone he knew, prayed for those less fortunate than he, and he worried about how to make the world a better place for the youth of our society.
Many who knew Rich knew that he was always happy-go-lucky, always had a smile – always had a funny story, and always had a kind word for anyone he met.
My husband accomplished things quietly behind the scenes, and with no fanfare – that was the way he preferred it. He had an uplifting attitude and a very vibrant spirit. His enthusiasm and energy were boundless. He will forever be always on our minds, and in our hearts, and a part of our lives.
Not only St. Finbar’s Parish but also all Pallottines suffered a personal and great loss on September 11th. Our Pallottine brother, Richard Catarelli, worked on the 100th floor of the World Trade Center Tower 1. The Sisters at St. Finbar’s were the last to see him. Every morning at 6:30 A.M., three knocks announced his arrival. Richard said morning prayers with us before going to work. Little did we know we would say our last goodbye to his unforgettable smiling face that morning.
Richard had a great love of St. Vincent Pallotti whose charism, ideals and life he knew and emulated. Like St. Vincent, he stretched the twenty-four hours of each day. He untiringly worked for his parish - a trustee of the church, a Eucharistic minister, and an honorary member of the Marian Rosary Society. Most especially he had a great concern for youth. His dream of starting a teenage parish group was about to become a reality. He zealously strove to make Jesus alive for his Confirmation class. His last gift to the CCD program was seven banners which he and his wife Santa made on the seven Sacraments. All this was done while never neglecting his primary responsibility as husband and father – holding a full time job which at times had him traveling – teaching a college class once a week – taking evening classes in theology – and going for certification in youth ministry. Like his role model St. Vincent, Richard gave of himself without counting the cost.
Richard touched everyone he encountered. Richard was a caring family man who often spoke of his wife and daughter. He gave of himself wholeheartedly and with a smile. Richard touched all of our lives. We shall miss his physical presence among us, but his presence in the hearts of all who knew him will continue to affect the world in ways beyond all telling.
Written by Sr. Ann Joachim.
Reprinted with permission from Shared Visions.
Terrorists Took Life of New Diocesan Youth Minister
BY JERRY CRONIN
Ten parishes in Brooklyn and Queens soon will be strengthened by 15 dedicated laypeople of various ages and backgrounds who have been certified by the Diocese as official youth ministers. The original number of candidates scheduled for graduation on Sunday, Sept. 30 was 16. But Richard Catarelli, an employee of the firm Marsh and McLennan, was working on the 100th Floor of the World Trade Center when the terrorist attack occurred Sept. 11. His diploma was awarded posthumously to his wife, Santa.
Catarelli is also survived by his only child, Anamarie, who also was one of the 15 graduating youth ministers.
Over the years, the Catarelli Family has been intimately linked to parish life at St. Finbar’s, Bath Beach. Richard was one of only two parish trustees. Father Joseph Holcomb, pastor of St. Finbar’s, said, “Rich Catarelli was a terrific parishioner. He had a positive and enthusiastic spirit. He had a great concern for the youth of the parish which is why he went to Father Michael Carrano’s classes to be certified. I truly valued his wise counsel. He will be deeply missed.”
The principal of St. Finbar’s school, Sister Hyacinth Serravillo, CSAC, spoke lovingly of her deceased friend who had the playful habit of calling her, “Buddy”. “Rich Catarelli was a man who didn’t know how to say ‘No’,” she pointed out. “He helped everyone. Each morning he would join myself and the sisters for morning prayers at 6:50 a.m. before heading off to work. On Sept. 11, he asked me for the address of my niece who was about to undergo surgery. He wanted to write to her. He put the address in his coat pocket and he went on his way as usual. He was such a wonderful man. It is hard to believe that he is gone.”
Mrs. Catarelli accepted her husband’s certificate at the graduation ceremony. She plans to frame it alongside her daughter’s certificate. “My husband was a man who loved everybody,” she said. “His favorite line was ‘Keep Smiling’.”
Next month would have been the 25th wedding anniversary for Santa and Richard. A memorial Mass was celebrated at the packed church with nearly 900 people.
Catarelli had a special relationship with his daughter. “I was looking forward to reaching out to the youth of my parish with my Dad,” she said. “I know what he was hoping to do and it is my goal to follow through on those ideas.”
Anamarie, a graduate of Fontbonne Hall Academy, Bay Ridge, is a junior at St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights, working towards a degree in social work.
Father Carrano, diocesan director of youth ministry, added words of praise as well. “Rich Catarelli was a dedicated man who had a tremendous concern for our teenagers. He was a prayerful man who was insightful and conscientious.”
© 2001, The Tablet. Reprinted with permission.