Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., was principal celebrant of a Mass of Christian Burial July 6 in St. James Church, Red Bank, for Msgr. Frederick A. Valentino who died June 29, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.
UPDATED: Msgr. Valentino fondly remembered at funeral Mass
At the time of his death, Msgr. Valentino had been the oldest priest of the Diocese.
Joining Bishop O’Connell at the altar were 20 of Msgr. Valentino’s brother diocesan priests who concelebrated the funeral Mass in the church where Msgr. Valentino had been pastor from 1976 until 1990. Homilist was Father Jeffrey Lee, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Colts Neck, who recounted many memories of Msgr. Valentino from over the years. Father Lee cited many of the late priest’s “words of wisdom” – often very humorous – and “his keen insights into priestly ministry.”
On one occasion Father Lee recalled, Msgr. Valentino pulled aside a newly ordained priest after listening to his homily in the parish. “Your homily was good, son,” Msgr. Valentino commented. “But you need to leave something to be said during the rest of your career.”
Msgr. Valentino was born in 1925 in Trenton. He prepared for the priesthood in St. Charles College, Catonsville, Md., and St. Mary Seminary and University, Baltimore. On June 3, 1950, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop George W. Ahr in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton.
Msgr. Valentino served as parochial vicar in Our Lady of Peace Parish, Fords; Holy Angels Parish, Hamilton; St. Bonaventure Parish, Lavallette, and St. Joseph Parish, Trenton. In 1959, he was named director of the Mercer County Catholic Youth Organization. In 1962, Msgr. Valentino was assigned as temporary administrator of St. Elizabeth Parish, Far Hills, and three months later as parochial vicar of St. Ann Parish, Keansburg. He also served from 1963 to 1972 as Northern Monmouth County Catholic Youth Athletic Center director.
In 1967, Msgr. Valentino was named administrator of St. Ann Parish, Keansburg, and named pastor there in 1971. He remained there until 1976 when he was named pastor of St. James Parish, Red Bank.
In 1979, Msgr. Valentino was invested as a Prelate of Honor with the title of monsignor by Pope John Paul II. He was named pastor of St. Bonaventure Parish (now part of St. Pio of Pietrelcina Parish, Lavallette) in 1990. During his eight years there he was appointed dean of the Northern Ocean Deanery, and held three-year terms as both chairman of the diocesan Building Commission, and episcopal vicar of Ocean County. Msgr. Valentino resigned as pastor of at St. Bonaventure in 1998. Other posts he has held include the diocesan budget committee, the priest pension committee and the expansion and development committees. Once retired, he resided in Brielle and served as a weekend assistant in parishes in the Diocese.
Following Mass, Msgr. Joseph N. Rosie, pastor of St. James Parish, accompanied Msgr. Valentino’s body to Mount Olivet Cemetery in Red Bank and presided at his burial.