BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Monsignor John A. Ruvo
Born in the town of Castelgrande in the Basilicata Region of Italy, Monsignor Ruvo came to the United States at the age of five and received his elementary education in the Bronx Public Schools. At Junior High School 45, he was the sports writer for the school paper, delivered newspapers to the faculty and worked a push cart on Arthur Avenue. Upon graduation from junior high school, he was admitted to Cathedral College, the Minor Seminary of the Archdiocese of NY. While at Cathedral, he worked during the summers as a counselor and Assistant Director of the CYO Boys Camp in Putnam Valley, NY.
In 1948 he entered St. Joseph’s Seminary to complete his studies in philosophy and theology. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 14th, 1954 by His Eminence Francis Cardinal Spellman in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He celebrated his first solemn Mass on May 16th, 1954 in Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the Bronx, the church where he had been an altar boy. His first assignment was as Assistant Pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Poughkeepsie, NY. In January, 1957, he was assigned to Our Lady of Lourdes Church on West 142nd Street, where in addition to being Assistant Pastor, he was also Director of the parish camps: Our Lady of Lourdes Camp for girls and Camp Acadia for boys.
In November 1970, Cardinal Cooke appointed him Assistant Chancellor for the Archdiocese, where he was the Director of the Insurance Division and Executive Secretary of the Archdiocesan Pension Plan. At the same time he was assigned as an Assistant at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The Cardinal later named him Executive Vice President of the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation. Soon after, in September 1971 Monsignor Ruvo was assigned to Our Lady of Peace Church on East 62nd Street, the minister to the Italian community there.
Pope John Paul II named Monsignor an Honorary Prelate in 1983. Cardinal O’Connor appointed him Pastor of Our Lady of Mt Carmel Parish on April 14th, 1984, and a member of the Priests’ Council of the Archdiocese. Monsignor was pleased to return to the parish of his youth, where he was reunited with friends and former priests from years gone by. In addition to the usual pastoral duties, he was involved in neighborhood activities, serving as Director, and later, Chairman, of the Council of Belmont Organizations (COBO) and the Belmont Arthur Avenue Local Development Corporation (BAALDC). His first major undertaking on behalf of the community was to partner with the BAALDC in purchasing the former Little Sisters of the Poor Home on East 183rd Street, renovating and transforming it into the Notre Dame Residence for Senior Citizens. He continues to be Director of the Enrico Fermi Cultural Committee.
Monsignor devoted much of his energy to the Parish School’s academic and religious curricula, restoring the school’s library and establishing the new computer program. He began the tradition of monthly children’s confessions before the First Friday Children’s Mass. He also began the practice of interviewing Communion and Confirmation candidates, ensuring their readiness to receive the Sacraments. Furthermore, all the parish priests were encouraged to visit classrooms regularly.
In 1991 and 1996, Monsignor oversaw two significant fundraising campaigns which enabled him to make major renovations to the lower Church, and restorations to the main Church, as part of the 90th Anniversary Celebration. In preparation for the 100th Anniversary, another renovation restored the Latin text around the cupola and side walls of the church; and the Stations of the Cross. Air-conditioning was also added.
In 1993 Monsignor Ruvo invited the Missionary Sisters of the Catechism to help with the pastoral care of our multi-cultural and multi-lingual parishioners. To improve the Catechetical instruction of our public school children, he established the Bishop Pernicone Catechetical Center, under the director of the Missionary Sisters of Catechism. Monsignor welcomes the Neocatechumenal Community in 1995, desiring that parishioners have a better understanding of and love for the Liturgy and Holy Scripture.
As pastor of one of the few remaining Italian National parishes, he sought to maintain the Italian culture and heritage of the Church’s founding fathers, while extending a warm and sincere welcome to our new immigrants. Monsignor Ruvo served as Pastor of Our Lady of Mt Carmel for 24 years. As of September 1st, 2008, he serves as Senior Priest at St. Joseph’s Parish, in New Rochelle, New York.