IRVINGTON, N.Y. – The late Monsignor Raymond Byrne had no use for titles, colleagues remembered Saturday during a funeral Mass for the longtime Irvington priest.
“He kind of abhorred the stuffiness of clericalism,” the Most Rev. Dennis Sullivan said.
Instead, Sullivan remembers a priest dedicated to peace and understanding — someone whose vision of the church was “for everybody.”
“Ray was a great messenger,” Sullivan said. “He was bright, he was funny and he could sing.”
Hundreds of Irvington residents gathered to remember Byrne Saturday morning at the Immaculate Conception Church, where Byrne served as a priest for more than 20 years. Irvington firefighters and police officers stood in a solemn line outside the church as the funeral Mass ended.
Byrne died Jan. 8 at the age of 81.
Byrne studied in Puerto Rico in 1957. He then went on to serve at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in the Bronx and at St. Paul's Parish in Harlem before coming to Irvington.
Parishioners recalled Byrne's humorous and caring spirit. Byrne, who often helped lead village memorial services, had left an indelible mark on Irvington, they said.
In a letter to parishioners read aloud at the service, Cardinal Timothy Dolan expressed his condolences for Byrne's death and praised his 55 years of service to the New York Diocese.
“Monsignor Raymond Byrne will be surely missed,” Dolan wrote.
Sullivan comforted mourners, saying Byrne was in a place where there was no loneliness.
“Rest in peace, Ray, and may you keep singing for us,” he said.