Rev. Carmen J. Coletta, O.S.A. (1907 - 2002)
Carmen J. Coletta, O.S.A., who at age 94 was the oldest Augustinian in North America, entered eternal life on July 12, 2002.
Carmen John Coletta was born on September 28, 1907, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, to Theodore and Rose (Greco) Coletta. He was baptized at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Lawrence, Massachusetts, on December 15, 1907. He attended Holy Rosary Elementary School in Lawrence and graduated from Lawrence Evening High School in 1928. Carmen did additional studies at McIntosh Business College.
After working in the textile mills in Lawrence, he entered the Augustinian Seminary at St. Rita Academy, Staten Island, New York.
He was received into the Augustinian Novitiate on September 11, 1930. He professed simple vows in the Order of St. Augustine on September 12, 1931, and solemn vows on September 12, 1934.
Father Coletta studied at Villanova College, where he received a B. A. in Philosophy in 1935. From 1935 to 1939, he studied theology at Gregorian University, Rome, earning an S.T.L. in 1939. He was ordained to the priesthood in Rome on July 17, 1938.
In July 1939, Father Coletta was assigned to Good Counsel Parish, Staten Island, New York, as an Assistant Pastor. He then served as Assistant Pastor of St. Matthew Parish, Flint, Michigan, from 1940 to 1943. In 1941, he was assigned as a member of the newly formed Augustinian Midwest Province.
Father Coletta was transferred in 1943 to St. Augustine Parish, Detroit, Michigan, as Assistant Pastor. He remained in this assignment until 1972, when he became Administrator of Mother of Consolation Church, Detroit. He remained there until 1989, when the church was closed due to the declining Catholic population in the area.
Father Coletta retired in July 1989 to Our Mother of Good Counsel Monastery at Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts, where he remained until the time of his death. He died peacefully in his sleep on the morning of July 12, 2002.
Father Coletta enjoyed singing. His voice was recognized for its operatic quality. Those who knew him found him to be generous, joyful and full of life.
Father Coletta loved people. He is remembered with affection by those to whom he ministered, particularly during his many years of service at St. Augustine’s and Our Mother of Consolation, Detroit.
A Funeral Mass was celebrated on July 17 at Holy Rosary Church, Lawrence, Massachusetts. Burial was in the Augustinian plot at St. Mary Cemetery, Lawrence, Massachusetts.