Eugene A. Del Conte, O.S.A.

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1926 – 2016 (November 20)

Eugene Anthony Del Conte was born on May 21, 1926, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Antonio Del Conte and Maria Baratta. He had two brothers and one sister, and was baptized on July 4, 1926, at Saint Donato Church, Philadelphia. He attended William Welsh Grammar School, Thomas Junior High School, and South Philadelphia High School, from which he graduated in 1944. Gene then worked at the Philadelphia Navy Yard during the war years of 1944 to 1946. He entered Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, as a postulant, in 1946 and was received into the Order as a novice on September 9, 1948. After a year at Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, New York, he professed simple vows on September 10, 1949. He attended Villanova College from 1949 to 1952 where he was awarded a BA in Philosophy. He solemnized his commitment as an Augustinian on September 10, 1952, and pursued theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, DC., with summers spent at the Catholic University, where he received an MA in Sociology in 1956. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 1955, at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington D.C., by Bishop John McNamara.

In 1956, Father Del Conte was assigned to Saint Joseph Friary, Drexel Hill, PA., where he taught at Msgr. Bonner High School until 1960. That year he was transferred to Saint Augustine Parish, Troy, New York, as associate pastor. In 1968, he was appointed pastor at Assumption Parish, Lawrence, Massachusetts, and in 1971 was named pastor and prior at Holy Rosary Parish, Lawrence. In 1974 he became pastor at Assumption/Saint Paul Parish, Mechanicville, New York, where he served for one year, until appointed pastor at Saint John the Baptist Parish, Schaghticoke, New York. In 1979 Father Del Conte was assigned to Saint James Minor Parish, Carthage, New York, as associate pastor, and served there until 1997. He then became associate pastor at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, Philadelphia, where he remained until 1999 when he was appointed prior of the National Novitiate of Blessed Stephen Bellesini, Racine, Wisconsin. In 2007, he was transferred to Saint Rita of Cascia Shrine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he assisted the parish and the Shrine, particularly in the ministry of reconciliation.

Father Del Conte underwent surgery on November 8, 2016 and, while in recovery, suffered a debilitating stroke. On November 16th he was transferred to the Health Care Unit of the Villanova Monastery, where he passed over to the Lord on Sunday, November 21, 2016, the Solemnity of Christ the King.

Father Gene is remembered as a faithful friar and a devoted priest, who enjoyed the opportunities which community life offered to be welcoming and hospitable. His faith was uncomplicated, his sense of humor engaging, his company appealing. His talents were many and will continue to be the gift he shares for a long time to come through the art he created.

A Mass for Father Del Conte was offered on Tuesday, November 22, 2017 at the Villanova Monastery Chapel by Prior Provincial, Michael Di Gregorio, O.S.A., who also preached. Afterwards, a wake was held at Saint Rita Shrine in the late afternoon, followed by the Funeral Mass, with the Prior Provincial as principal celebrant. Father James Spenard, O.S.A. preached the homily. The following morning burial took place in the Del Conte family plot of Holy Cross Cemetery, Yeadon, PA.