1907 – 2002 (July 12)
Carmen John Coletta was born September 28, 1907 in Lawrence, Massachusetts, to Theodore Coletta and Rose Greco. He was baptized at Holy Rosary Church, Lawrence, on December 15, 1907, and attended Holy Rosary Elementary School. He graduated in 1928 from Lawrence Evening High School and did additional studies at McIntosh Business College. After working in the mills of Lawrence, he entered the Augustinian Academy at Mount St. Rita, Staten Island, New York. Carmen was received into the novitiate on September 11, 1930, professed simple vows on September 12, 1931 and solemn vows on September 12, 1934. He studied at Villanova College, where he received a B. A. in Philosophy in 1935. From 1935 to 1939 he studied theology at the Gregorian University, Rome, earning an S.T.L. in 1939. He was ordained to the Priesthood July 17, 1938, in Rome.
In July, 1939, Father Coletta was assigned to Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Staten Island, New York, as an assistant pastor. From 1940 to 1943 he served as assistant pastor of St. Matthew Parish, Flint, Michigan. In 1941 he was affiliated to the newly formed Augustinian Midwest Province. In 1943, Father Coletta was transferred to St. Augustine Parish, Detroit, Michigan, as assistant pastor. He remained in this assignment until 1972, when he became Administrator of Mother of Consolation Church, Detroit. In 1989, the church was closed due to the declining Catholic population in the area.
Father Coletta retired to Our Mother of Good Counsel Monastery at Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts in July, 1989, where he remained until the time of his death. He died peacefully in his sleep on the morning of July 12, 2002. At the time of his death he was the oldest friar in the United States.
Father Coletta enjoyed singing and was recognized for his operatic talent. His love for people was expressed in his generosity, joy and zest for life.
His Funeral Mass was celebrated July 17, 2002, at Holy Rosary Church, Lawrence, Massachusetts. Burial was in the Augustinian plot at St. Mary Cemetery, Lawrence, Massachusetts.