Devout Pastor, Father John Aufieri remembered fondly

Fr. Aufeiri surrounded by student’s of St. Clare’s School.
Courtesy of St. Clare of Assisi School Facebook page

Father Robert John Aufieri lived a life dedicated to God and all of his parishioners.

Born October 13, 1948, he quietly passed away on February 16, 2018.

While a dedicated priest in many parishes throughout his life, his final years were spent at St. Clare’s of Assisi.

“He put the church back together,” said Debra Ann Jaffee, director of the senior center at St. Clare’s. “He’s responsible for revitalizing our senior center, we’re all heartbroken,” she added.

Fr. Aufieri was devoted to the seniors in his parishes during his time. No matter what, he always made time for them, she opined.

“Father was a spiritual and loving presence for the students, he was my pastor but he was also my friend,” said Theresa Bivona, principal of St. Clare’s School.

Bivona described the academic track he had put the school and how it was directly alligned with her own.

“He would always speak his mind, but he would do it gently. When he passed I told the children that God needed his help in Heaven,” said Bivona.

Adults and children alike knew and appreciated his dry sense of humor as well.

Bivona attributed this special trait as to why the two of them got along so greatly.

Dr. Mary Anne Vance attended St. Lucy’s elementary school with Fr. Aufieri as a child.

“We knew in second grade he was going to be become a priest,” said Dr. Vance. “He helped everybody, he’d break up fights, he always did the right thing,” she added.

Fr. Aufieri was ordained at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers in late 1974.

He also attended Cathedral College and later studied liturgy as a graduate student at the University of Notre Dame.

“He was a father figure to me,” said Fr. Salvatore DeStefano, pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish. “Fr. Aufieri was extremely devoted to all of his parishioners,” he added.

When Fr. DeStefano’s father passed in 2012, Fr. Aufieri became a source of comfort and understanding. Doing the same for Dr. Vance when her mother passed in 2010.

“He reassured me, he helped me move on with my life,” said Dr. Vance.

Dr. Vance had worked with Fr. Aufieri’s sister Joan in Fordham Plaza for some time as well. He always spent holidays with Dr. Vance’s family.

Children loved Fr. Aufieri as he did them, students of St. Clare’s were heartbroken when they heard the sad news of his sudden passing.

“He made children want to be active and stay out of trouble, he was so great with them,” said Jaffee.

Adults and children alike knew and appreciated his dry sense of humor as well.

The family will receive friends at St. Clare of Assisi Church on Friday, February 23 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.

The Mass of the Holy Eucharist will be celebrated at 7 p.m. by Bishop Gerald Walsh.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 24.

Interment will follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, NY.

Fr. Aulfieri was the son of the late Theresa E. Aufieri and the late Vincent A. Aufieri. Fr. Aufieri is survived by his sister, Joan C. Tretta.

Also, he is survived by nephews Joseph Tretta, Jr. and Nick Testa and nieces Marie Testa, Elisa Cannava and Cecille Greco.

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