For nearly 25 years, Monsignor John Ruvo was the pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Belmont. On April 26, he passed away at the age of 93 from the coronavirus.
Ruvo, born in Italy and raised in Belmont, was the eighth and longest serving pastor at Mount Carmel at 627 East 187th St. He had recently celebrated his 65th anniversary in the priesthood and will be sorely missed by the entire community.
Lifelong Belmont resident Elizabeth Mannini, who is the secretary at the church, said the father was a pleasure to be around. He was still working up until he got sick a few weeks ago.
“He was a man of deep faith,” she said. “He was always ready to serve.”
According to Mannini, the pastor went to P.S. 45 at 2502 Lorillard Pl. and his first job was working a pushcart on the streets.
Celeste Calabro, who lives up the block from the church knew the pastor her entire life. Her late father, Salvatore Calabro, became friends with Ruvo when they were 11 years old. She said that Mount Carmel was her second home and Ruvo was like an “uncle.”
“We were always in the church,” she said. “That was our social group. No matter where he went people loved him. He was a go-getter.”
She recalled how the monsignor used to come to their house on New Year’s Day and that he was a Yankees fan. Mannini stressed that things have never been the same since he left the parish.
Mannini tried to call him once a month and get together. She will always remember him fondly.
“He’s the last of the good priests,” she said. “He was very devoted. I’m going to miss him. He’s a special man.”
Lifelong Belmont resident Frank Franz knew Ruvo for 40 years. In fact, his grandfather helped build the church.
Franz was an altar boy as a child and felt at home at Mount Carmel. He and Ruvo got dinner many times and in the summer would run the Ferragosto festival together.
“He was an old fashioned parish priest; they’re just not like that anymore”, Franz explained.
He told the Bronx Times, Ruvo was available any time of the day and had a good sense of humor.
“The neighborhood loved him,” Franz stressed. “He made church more enjoyable for everyone. Monsignor Ruvo was a great guy. As a priest he truly honored you, not by his great lectures, but by example. He led the life and never complained about it.”