Bishop Anthony F. Mestice, 88. long-time pastor of Rye’s and Vicar for Central Westchester, died from consequences following a stroke suffered last Saturday at Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla.
, 1036 Post Rd., will handle the arrangements. Wake services will Wednesday at Resurrection, 910 Boston Post Rd., 5 - 9 p.m. Mass of the Eucharist will be celebrated in his honor at Resurrection at 7 p.m.
Funeral Mass will be held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 11:30 a.m. Thursday in New York City. Interment will follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Mount Pleasant.
During his tenure at Resurrection from 1990- 200s, between Msgr. Donald Pryor and the late Msgr. Patrick Boyle, Mestice marshalled several pivotal events in the storied history of Resurrection, founded circa 1880.
Under Bishop Mestice’s leadership, the Archdiocese Center for Spiritual Development came to 96 Milton Rd., a white clapboard, black-shuttered two-story edifice on the sprawling Resurrection campus in 1991.
A year later, the Academy of the Resurrection closed, and the Bishop led a crusade to stem the declining numbers of priests and nuns entering religious life.
The Hogben House, one of several buildings on the Resurrection campus, was renovated into the Parish Center in 1999. Shortly thereafter, Cathedral Prep was moved to Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains and the Academy Building was used by Resurrection School. The Spiritual Center soon followed to Stepinac and the Milton Rd. building was converted into a parish center.
Bishop Mestice led the ongoing repair and renovation to the gray stone, Gothic structure Church of the Resurrection. He also continued to address the declining number of religious vocations for various Archdiocesan and national Bishop’s organizations.
In 2002, Bishop Mestice became Resurrection’s pastor emeritus and remained a popular and colorful parish figure, known for a policy whereby communicants advanced to the altar from the back of church first. He could be seen meditating while walking the grounds, enjoying his cigar.
Mestice was active as the Vicar of Vocations for the Archdiocese and as a member ot the Vocational Council for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“But he was first and foremost a priest, a priest’s priest, a parish priest, he loved everything about the priesthood and the opportunity to devote his life to serving God and his fellow man,” said Msgr. Edward D. O’Donnell, senior priest at Resurrection and parish administrator since the February death of Msgr. Boyle. “It was Bishop Mestice who brought me to Resurrection in 2001 after I retired but still wanted to remain active in the priesthood.”
Bishop Mestice was born Dec.6 1923 in New York City, the son of Donato and Consiglia Mestice. He attended St. John the Evangelist and Cathedral Prep and College in NYC and St. Joseph’s Seminary at Dunwoodie in Yonkers.
Ordained a priest by Francis Cardinal Spellman on June 4, 1949, and distinguished as a parish priest at several churches including St. Dominic's in the Bronx and Mount Carmel in Poughkeepsie, Mestice was consecrated as a bishop by Terrence Cardinal Cooke on April 17, 1973 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and went to the Church of the Holy Trinity in Arlington as Episcopal Vicar of Central Westchester. He became pastor of Resurrection in 2000.
Mestice served on several boards including St. Francis Hospital, Saint Joseph’s Seminary, and the College of the City of New York. He also founded the Council of Health and Human Services of Dutchess County; taught at Manhattan College; and, among other honors, received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Marist College.
Bishop Mestice spent his retirement years at the Our Lady of Condolence in Riverdale. His final days were spent at the Mary Manning Retirement Home in New York City, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Yonkers, and Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla where he died ten days ago.
Final funeral arrangements were delayed for several days while Archdiocesan Chancery officials contacted Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, who was abroad, to approve the final funeral arrangements.
Bishop Mestice is survived by his two nieces, a great nephew and two great nieces. He was prededed by two brothers: P. Francis Mestice MD and G. Michael Mestice JD, CPA.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Priest Relief Fund of the Archdiocese of NY.