By Emily Drooby
The Murrays and Caffarones poured over old photos. The good friends have forty years of memories together, many spent with their priest and close friend, Monsignor John Tosi. The beloved member of the Brooklyn Diocese passed away in May.
“We just loved him, and he loved us,” Toni Caffarone told Currents News. “As a priest, he was a priest priest, he was truly a Shepard.”
For the Murrays, he inspired strong faith.
“I was so touched by that — the faith, the beautiful, beautiful faith that he had and always shared with us,” said Susan Marray.
He also inspired the Caffarones to move to Howard Beach, close to his parish at the time, Our Lady of Grace.
Inspiration is a common thread among Monsignor Tosi’s friendships. Deacon Alexander Breviario says Monsignor Tosi is the reason he became a deacon.
“Out of the blue he came over to me and basically said, ‘God has big plans for you.’ And that memory has always stuck in my mind,” he explained.
Now months after his passing, he’s inspiring something else: the co-naming of a street. New York City Councilman Paul Vallone sponsored the bill and helped get it to the city council.
“There hasn’t been too many people who have had that kind of impact on the parish and the community. He was larger than life, he really was. Everyone knew Monsignor Tosi,” Councilman Vallone explained.
After being passed by both the local Community Board and City Council, the intersection of Clintonville Street and Locke Avenue in Whitestone, Queens will soon forever be known as “Msgr. John C. Tosi Way.” It’s the space right in front of St. Luke’s, Monsignor Tosi’s last assignment.
Knights of Columbus Whitestone chapter Grand Knight Enrico Urgo and Msgr. Francis J. Dillion Council member Joe Governale requested the street co-naming. Monsignor Tosi was part of the religious organization and knew both Urgo and Dillion well.
Councilman Vallone hopes to have the unveiling in the spring.
Father Thomas Doyle is the pastor at Good Shepherd in Brooklyn, and was also a close friend of Monsignor Tosi. He calls the co-naming a fitting tribute. The beloved priest passed during the height of the pandemic when holding large gatherings, including funerals, was impossible.
“That’s what I felt bad for, that we were not able to give him the tribute that he really deserved. And I think when the people came forward from St. Luke’s and said, ‘Let’s do this,’ I thought this was a great tribute for him,” he said.
It’s a tribute inspired by the man who impacted the lives of so many people in the Diocese of Brooklyn.