Fr. Leonard Tuozzolo, former pastor of Our Lady, Queen of Peace, dies at 83

Spiritan Father Leonard J. Tuozzolo, former pastor of Our Lady, Queen of Peace Church in Arlington, died Nov. 5 at Libermann Hall in Bethel Park, Pa. He was 83 years old.

Affectionately known by many as "Father Tuz," the priest "was very open to other people and to those who were on the margins," said Spiritan Father Timothy J. Hickey, pastor of Our Lady, Queen of Peace, who knew "his brother " for about 25 years.

Father Tuozzolo was born June 26, 1932, in Woodside, N.Y., to Joseph and Margaret Tuozzolo. He attended Manhattan College from 1950 to 1951 and made his first profession with the Congregation of the Holy Spirit in Ridgefield, Conn., in 1954. He was ordained to the priesthood June 4, 1959, in Norwalk, Conn.

His first assignment was at Sacred Heart Church in Emsworth, Pa., where he served from 1961 to 1964. Additional assignments included vocations work at St. Joseph's House, a home for poor boys, in Philadelphia,1964-66, and serving as assistant chaplain at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, 1973-75. Father Tuozzolo was pastor of St. Patrick Church in Charleston, S.C., 1975-78, and national director of the Missionary Vehicle Association in Oakmont, Pa., 1978-81.

Father Tuozzolo spent a few weeks in Kenya, East Africa, to work in the Ilkerin Mission. Upon his return to the States, he ministered at St. Benedict the Moor Church in Detroit and St. Joseph Church in Bay City, Mich. In 1987, he was named pastor of St. Mark the Evangelist Church in New York, where he served for 12 years.

In 1999, Father Tuozzolo became director of the Spiritan Foundation, the former fundraising division of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, and in 2002 he was appointed pastor of Our Lady, Queen of Peace, where he served for seven years. Father Tuozzolo retired to Libermann Hall in 2009.

Following his death, Father Hickey received a flood of emails from of Our Lady, Queen of Peace parishioners, "who absolutely loved him." People were attracted to his openness, "especially the down-and-out," said Father Hickey. "He related very well to people in need and was moved to respond to them."

A funeral Mass was offered for Father Tuozzolo Nov. 10 in Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel at the Spiritan Center in Bethel Park, and a memorial Mass was held at Our Lady, Queen of Peace Nov. 20.

Father Tuozzolo was buried Nov. 11 in the Spiritan Cemetery at Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, Pa.

Donations in memory of Father Tuozzolo may be made to the Spiritans, 6230 Brush Run Rd., Bethel Park, PA 15102. Funds will be used for priests' retirement and the education of future Spiritan fathers and brothers.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015