Msgr. John Ruvo has been pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on E. 187th Street in Belmont since 1984, but will be stepping down come September. Ruvo will remain at the parish where he grew up, and first found his calling to serve God’s people.
“This parish has really been my home for the past 70 years,” Ruvo noted. “My goal has always been to maintain old traditions while welcoming and incorporating the traditions of new immigrants.”
Ruvo spoke about the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-lingual side of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which was founded in 1906 to serve Italian Immigrants, and now serves Italians, but also Mexicans, Albanians, and faithful from various points in Latin America.
“I frequently describe this parish as a little Vatican,” Ruvo noted. “If you go to the Vatican you find people from all races, nationalities, and cultures. The Parish is really catholic in that sense, because it embraces everyone and is universal.”
Ruvo said that he is not retiring as reported elsewhere, but rather is turning over the administrative side of the parish to serve the flock of Catholics in a more spiritual way.
“I had a meeting with Cardinal Egan a few months ago, and he told me I was too young to retire,” Ruvo quipped. “But I explained, that I am not really retiring. I will no longer be the pastor, but I will be our senior priest and maintain a regular schedule.”
Ruvo, who has been a diocesan priest since his ordination in 1954, and a Monsignor since 1971, was philosophical about his time at his vocation.
“I was very young when I made the decision to become a priest,” Ruvo explained. “I was an alter boy at this parish, and I thought about it a lot in Junior High School before making my final decision. I think when you make a decision, you have to stick by it, no matter what happens.”
Ruvo went on to attend Cathedral High School, which was a special preparatory school for boys who planned on entering the priesthood. From that point on, his call to serve the faithful only grew stronger.
“As a priest, you want to serve God by serving the people,” Ruvo noted. “You are, in a sense, giving your life as a ransom for many, and making sacrifices for others.”