RAMAPO, N.Y. -- When parishioners of Sacred Heart in Suffern learned this spring that their longtime pastor was being transferred to another parish, they weren’t the only ones feeling the loss.
Members of the Ramapo Police Department would also be missing Monsignor Joseph R. Giandurco, who was a chaplain there for many years.
Police Chief Brad Weidel and Capt. Martin Reilly spent a few moments recently with Giandurco on his last day at the parish.
In a Facebook post, Wiedel praised the priest, saying that “he always made himself available to our community and our department during times of need.”
The chief thanked Giandurco for his “selfless service” and wished him well at his new parish in Westchester County.
Last month, Sacred Heart made the news when a Suffern man went on a rampage there. Police said he assaulted a church attendant, slapped another man, smashed a stained-glass window and destroyed other objects. He had to be Tasered by officers who were trying to arrest him.
Giandurco had served at the Catholic church on Washington Avenue for a decade and had expected to be there for at least two more years, according to a church bulletin.
But he was transferred by Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan to St. Patrick’s Church in Yorktown.
At the same time, the Suffern parish found out that it was also losing another priest, Michael Moon, who was transferred to a Hartsdale parish, also in Westchester.
Giandurco’s replacement, the Rev. Matthew J. Furey, comes to Sacred Heart from St. Francis Xavier Church in the Bronx.
In a church bulletin post, Furey, who had served in Giandurco for two years in Suffern, told parishioners that he recognized that losing Giandurco was “a blow to all of you.”
Praising his predecessor as “the finest priest in the Archdiocese of New York,” Furey said that he had “learned so much from him" and promised to try to live up to the standards that he had set.
In a bulletin, Giandurco acknowledged that it was “unusual” for two priests to be leaving a parish at the same time, adding, “There are reasons for everything, but it is hard to understand such an occurrence.”
It was not known Tuesday who would replace Moon.
Sacred Heart hosted a farewell party for Giandurco in June.
In 1989, Giandurco had served in the Vatican’s Diplomatic School in Rome. But after he became ill while posted in Africa, he returned to the United States and spent 12 years teaching at a seminary in Yonkers.
Giandurco said he was “sad, but not upset” about leaving Suffern, noting that priests can be transferred at any time.
Yorktown’s previous pastor, Father Joseph Bisignano, was transferred to St. Patrick’s Church in Bedford.
He had served in Yorktown for 11 years and before that was with a Beacon parish.
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