fredrickDelAntonioGiven by Brother John McMahon, FSC
Church of St. Raymond, Bronx, NY
December 10, 2010

“Unless the grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain, but if it dies, it bears much fruit” John 12/24. Our Brother Fred Del Antonio is now bearing even greater fruit for us. We all are dying … a little bit each day. Since what Fred and I have called “The Event” of last January, when his heart stopped, I’m sure Fred changed. It was a miracle that he lived through that event. It was only because of the quick action of one, and then of many people, that he was gifted with another year of life, like a dress rehearsal for his final letting go. It is mostly a gut feeling in me that “The Event” changed his life, but there were little evidences. He got right back into being himself, doing the things he enjoyed. He did not outwardly feel sorry for himself. His brother, James, said recently that Fred, since “The Event,” has called the family weekly… a big change! When given another chance, wouldn’t we all live life a bit differently? Way to go Fred! You have taught us a great lesson.

I’ve known Fred since he was a junior at Bishop Loughlin High School in Brooklyn. He was the fourth page editor of the newspaper, “The Jamesonian.” Fred was tenacious. I looked on the fourth page as the garbage page … not Fred. He would fight tooth and nail for stories to grace his page, and he would jazz up any story he wrote. Fred was always a great student, except maybe in grammar school where he tested the “good” Sisters of St Joseph. After graduating from Catholic University, Fred was allowed to study for a Masters Degree, to take advantage of a scholarship, before going out teaching. Fred got his Masters Degree in History in one year in Madison, Wisconsin. Not an easy task, but Fred again was tenacious when he decided to do something. In addition to assignments at La Salle Academy in Providence RI, Paramus Catholic in New Jersey, two assignments at Bishop Loughlin in Brooklyn and a few months here at St Raymond’s, Fred ministered in Kenya, Africa. He was not afraid of picking up and moving to unknown places. A promotional video of our refoundation program in Santa Fe, NM, has Fred pumping iron in the program’s exercise room. I think it was a set up for the video!

When he was a senior at Loughlin, Fred heard a call from God. Remember, Fred was tenacious. He responded immediately. He asked me to be his sponsor, to help put the robe on him. I first met his family at that time. His dad, Fred, was still alive. His mother Mildred, his sister Janice and his brother, James … at that time his baby brother, James! I hope you know how much he thought of you all, even though you probably spent time wanting him to be more in touch. James and Linda, Fred talked about the twins often and showed off their pictures proudly.

Since sponsoring Fred into the brothers in 1966, I’ve lived with him four times: in Washington, DC, in East Providence, in Brooklyn, and at Narragansett. We had a skit developed over the years. He or I would say to a newcomer: “Do you know that we are sponsor and sponsoree?” Fred would then go into a spiel about my deciding to take a chance on him as a brother, my putting my hand on his shoulder, confidently, etc. My line would then be: “Sometimes you have to ‘live’ with your mistakes!” “Fred, I’ll miss you this year putting up the community Christmas tree. You were always the best “flufferer” of branches for our ‘artificial’ Christmas trees. It’s the little experiences that one remembers at times like a death. Fred, thanks for all the little experiences of brotherhood, since we have had the “happiness of living together in community.”

When Fred was not at bookkeeping in a financial way, in ministry, he was bookkeeping in a recreational way, in reading. Fred read for pleasure… some heavy stuff … history, social studies, politics. His books always seemed to be hundreds of pages. Fred’s interest was broad. It also included books on classic movies and contemporary films. Notice I said “films.” He loved a good foreign film, but he could roar at all the comedy classics as well. He loved all the “I Love Lucy” TV shows for example. I bet he watched them dozens of times. He loved shows on TV that judged prize dogs. He has even been known to get to Madison Square Garden to see these Dog Shows in person. And of course what was a Saturday, or even a Wednesday, except to get into the City (preferably NY City) to browse in a bookstore, eat half a dozen Dunkin Donuts and see two or three movies? Both of his “Events” occurred in cities… in Providence and in Manhattan. Why stay home if the sun were out? Fred loved New York City! It is fitting that it is the city where the fatal fall occurred. His friends, at his “My AMI,” a theatre dedicated to the American Moving Image, gave him a DVD player a few years ago when he moved to RI. They met at the theatre to critique films, but knew themselves only by their first names. They will be wondering about his disappearance.

From the time of his disappearance last weekend, his community of brothers here at St. Raymond’s, have been actively engaged in his discovery and in his days in critical care. The Brothers of the District of Eastern North America (DENA) and Fred’s family can’t thank you enough for your presence to Fred, as well as to the doctors and nurses, who have cared for him. You brothers and the entire medical team have been superb.

Moments after I heard of Fred’s death, I looked down at the page of the book I was praying over. It is a book by Joyce Rupp, “Open the Door: A Journey to the True Self.” She is quoting Carol Orsborn:

I fall short of my own ideals over and over. Yet, despite the certainty of my unworthiness, I feel spirit urging me to venture forth again.

So, God, I ask you to use me, anyway.
Take my fears and use me, anyway.
Take my failures and use me, anyway.
Take my arrogance and use me, anyway.
Take my greed and use me, anyway.
Take my guilt and use me, anyway.
Take my confusion and use me, anyway.
Take my regret and use me, anyway.
I offer all of myself to you.
Use me to serve many or few.
In pain or in joy,
Use me as you will.

Joyce Rupp ends with: “Jesus did not call perfect people to join him in ministry. None of us is faultless. A huge amount of work in our world begs to be done with an attitude of care. Let us go to be of service to others with our strengths and our limitations, trusting that God will take the best of who we are and bless others with it.”

This prayer is mine too, and how about yours as well? It seems fitting to have been Fred’s prayer since his dress rehearsal event last January, because he was different. “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain, but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” We die a little each day until the final letting go. Let’s be for others and allow them to be for us. Thanks, Fred, for teaching us to live each day as we too die each day, to feel spirit urging us to venture forth again! Be at peace our brother!

Please pray for the happy repose of the soul of
Br. Frederick DelAntonio, FSC

Born Frederick August DelAntonio in Brooklyn, NY, on August 25, 1949

Entered the Narragansett, RI Novitiate on June 29, 1966

Received the Religious Habit on September 1, 1966

Pronounced Perpetual Vows in Narragansett, RI, on July 14, 1974.

Brother Fred died at Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan, NYC on December 8, 2010


Friday, December 10, 2010

Viewing from 2:30 – 7:30 pm
St. Raymond’s Brothers’ Residence
1754 Castle Hill Avenue
Bronx, NY 10462

Mass of Christian Burial at 8:00 pm
Church of St. Raymond
1759 Castle Hill Avenue
Bronx, NY 10462

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Burial in Brothers’ cemetery at 11:30am
Christian Brothers Center
635 Ocean Road
Narragansett, RI 02882-1314


District: 50 masses
St. Raymond community: 30 masses
Each community in the District: 1 mass

Brother Frederick passed away quickly after being removed from life support subsequent to complications resulting from a head trauma. May he rest in peace.

Tour of Duty

Providence, RI
La Salle Academy

Cranston, RI
Cranston Johnston Catholic Regional School

Rongai, KENYA
Rongai Agricultural and Technical School

Providence, RI
La Salle Academy

Brooklyn, NY
Bishop Loughlin Memorial H S

Paramus, NJ
Paramus Catholic H S

Director of Finance
Brooklyn, NY
Bishop Loughlin Memorial H S

Director of Finance
Narragansett, RI
Christian Brothers Center

Finance Office
Bronx, NY
St. Raymond H S


May the soul of Brother Frederick, and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace.