By Emily Drooby
On Aug. 18, family and friends said a final goodbye to Brother Ralph J. Darmento, F.S.C., an indispensable educator in the Brooklyn Diocese. He passed away on August 14 at the age of 68.
“It’s a big loss for the Diocese of Brooklyn,” said Auxiliary Bishop James Massa.
Brother Darmento was the deputy superintendent of schools. He worked closely with Auxiliary Bishop Massa when he held the position of Vicar for Catholic Education.
“He was a tremendous help in assisting our academies to balance their books and to try to maintain a steady enrollment or to increase the number of students in the schools, he was extraordinary in having both those talents,” added Bishop Massa.
Brother Darmento spent seven years helping to shape education in the diocese. Before that, he spent over 15 years working in the Archdiocese of Newark’s education office.
He was also a life-long teacher, working at schools across the country. While he transitioned into a more administrative role, teaching was a gift that even never left him.
“Ralph would sometimes walk into a seventh grade, a sixth grade classroom and he would ask questions of the students of the faith, but then he would do math drills with them,” said Bishop Massa. “It was just always amazing. You knew that was his element, that’s where he felt most comfortable.”
Superintendent of Schools Thomas Chadzutko says education was Brother Darmento’s passion. He would search all over for ways to make Catholic schools in the Diocese of Brooklyn the best.
“He was someone who was always researching, always looking for best practices, always looking for solutions, and a lot of the things That we have adapted in our academy governance model, really became because of him and the work that he has done,” Chadzutko recalled.
Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Chappetto was the main celebrant at Brother Darmento’s Mass of Christian burial. It was held at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn.
“He was a very big asset to us here in the diocese,” remembered Bishop Chappetto. “He really was a great educator, and we were blessed to have him working here with us.”