OSSINING, N.Y. -- Monsignor Robert F. McCormick, of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York and former pastor of St. Augustine’s Church in Ossining, died Friday, Sept. 23 at the Convent of St. Birgitta in Darien, Conn., where he was the resident chaplain. He was 95.
Upon his ordination in 1947, McCormick served at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Chapel at the Military Academy at West Point for 28 years until 1975. While there, he helped oversee the redesign and expansion of the chapel. He counseled numerous West Pointers, including cadets, officers and enlisted men and formed many lasting friendships, including leaders at the highest levels at the academy.
In 1975, he was appointed pastor at St. Augustine’s Church in Ossining and was elevated to monsignor during his tenure there. Shortly after arriving in Ossining, he learned the state intended to widen Route 9, which would negatively impact the church and school. Through his farsightedness and the support of a hard-working committee, McCormick was instrumental in raising sufficient money to purchase 30 acres of land that had housed the Mary Immaculate School, a private Catholic school for girls, on a site overlooking the Hudson River.
In 1990, his vision for a new church in keeping with the site was realized when His Eminence Cardinal John J. O’Connor consecrated the neo-gothic church with sweeping views of the Hudson. In recognition for his stewardship and dedication to Catholic education, St. Augustine’s started a foundation to support the school in his name.
After retiring in 1994, he assisted at Resurrection Church in Rye and Holy Redeemer Church in Palm City, Fla.
In 1997, he became the chaplain at the Convent of St. Birgitta, located in the Tokeneke section of Darien, where he served the community with daily Mass and frequent discussion groups. His homilies affected people for their simplicity and wisdom and he will be remembered by many for his trademark line “Only good lovers go to heaven.”
McCormick was the youngest of eight children. He received a B.A. from Fordham University before completing his theological studies at Dunwoodie Seminary in Yonkers. Throughout his 69 years in the priesthood, he was known for his quick wit and keen sense of humor. He enjoyed tennis in his spare time.
He is survived by 21 nieces and nephews and their families.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Augustine’s Church, 381 N. Highland Ave., Ossining with visitation at 9 am. In addition, a wake will be conducted from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at St. Augustine’s School. Burial will follow the Mass at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in New Rochelle.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be given to the Convent of St. Birgitta and/or the foundation named in his honor to support St. Augustine’s school.