St. Robert Bellarmine Parish congregants and trustees held a celebration on Nov. 16 to mark Monsignor Martin T. Geraghty’s 50th anniversary of priesthood. At 74, the pastor has served churches from Jackson Heights to Far Rockaway and now serves as the head of the Bayside church.
“Fifty years as a priest is a very special thing. So we needed to honor him,” said Bob Coccia, a trustee and one of the many organizers of the event. “The parish wanted to recognize and honor him for it.”
The mass that was held in his honor was packed with about 1,000 people, according to organizers. Afterward, there was a reception in the church’s hall where food was served as a slideshow of Geraghty’s life was on display.
Geraghty became the head of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish during uncertain times. The former pastor, Monsignor John Lavin, died in 2006 and Geraghty was his replacement.
“When Monsignor Lavin died, we couldn’t have had a better priest come in,” Coccia said. “He came in and very quietly gained the community’s respect. He filled Lavin’s shoes above and beyond. He serves with all his might.”