By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T
Father Vito J. Carbone, 72, the former pastor of Visitation B.V.M. and Our Lady of Loreto parishes in Philadelphia, died April 17.
Born in Philadelphia, the son of the late Vito J. and Onorina (DiGiacinto) Carbone, attended St. Donato School and St. Joseph’s College High School before entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. He was ordained May 19, 1962, by then-Archbishop John J. Krol at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul.
“He touched everybody’s life spiritually,” said his sister, Loretta Mannella. He was very close to his nieces and nephews and celebrated all of their wedding Masses – as well as performing his sister’s wedding ceremony. “He was my best friend,” his sister said.
She remembers him as a man who loved to read, loved Broadway shows and opera, especially performances of New York’s Metropolitan Opera, and was a frequent contributor to The Catholic Standard & Times.
Father Carbone’s first assignment after ordination was as parochial vicar at St. Lucy Parish in Philadelphia’s Manayunk section. He subsequently served at St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, Stella Maris and Our Lady of Angels in Philadelphia; also, Notre Dame De Lourdes, Swarthmore; Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Doylestown; Our Lady Help of Christians, Abington; St. Joseph, Downingtown; Our Lady of Peace, Milmont Park; and St. John the Evangelist, Morrisville. He was parochial administrator at St. Cecilia, Coatesville, and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Hilltown. He served as pastor at Visitation B.V.M. from 1989-1993 and Our Lady of Loreto from 1993-2000.
“He was of the generation of priests called upon to implement the changes of Vatican II and he dedicated himself to that task wherever he went,” said Father Dominic Chiaravalle, who preached at Father Carbone’s funeral. “He introduced the new liturgy, the baptismal service, the RCIA program, all on the practical parish level. He was well-liked and well-admired and had a great following wherever he went.”
Msgr. Francis A. Carbine, a St. Charles classmate, recalls it was Father Carbone who motivated him to study Italian, something he continues to do.
“He was very serious-minded and dutiful, devout and very interested in the formation of the laity,” Msgr. Carbine said.
Although ill this past year, Father Carbone was still intellectually alert and reading and rereading the works of Charles Dickens, a favorite author. In his final week, Msgr. Carbine visited, administered the sacrament of the sick and prayed the “going away prayers.” He then said a final farewell to his old friend and classmate – appropriately in Italian.
Father Carbone’s funeral Mass was celebrated on April 23 by Cardinal Justin Rigali at Presentation B.V.M. Church, Wynnewood. Concelebrants included Msgrs. James J. Fitzpatrick and Timothy C. Senior and Msgr. Carbine; Father Eduardo G. Montero; and Father Chiaravalle, who was the homilist.
In addition to his sister, Father Carbone is survived by nieces and nephews.
Interment was at SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Springfield.
Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.