September 21, 1944 – May 10, 2021
Fr. Ralph Verdi, C.PP.S., 76, died at 6:35 a.m. on Monday, May 10, 2021, in the infirmary at St. Charles Center, Carthagena, Ohio. He had been in failing health.
Fr. Verdi was born on September 21, 1944, in New York to Ralph C. and Inez (Gregorio) Verdi. He entered the Society in 1962 at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind., and was ordained on June 19, 1971 at St. Charles Center in Carthagena, Ohio.
After his ordination, Fr. Verdi returned to Saint Joseph’s College as part of its music department. He later attended Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. for graduate studies in music. He then continued in music and education ministry at Saint Joseph’s.
In 2005, he was appointed parochial vicar at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Cleveland. In 2010, he served as sacramental minister at St. Rita and Precious Blood Parishes in Dayton, later becoming part-time chaplain for the Sisters of the Precious Blood in Dayton.
Fr. Verdi retired to St. Charles Center in 2015. With his health declining, he launched his search for a kidney transplant, which took place in late 2017. He faced numerous and dire medical obstacles during his recovery, but eventually made his way back to St. Charles Center, where he spent his last years.
Fr. Verdi wove music into his ministry as a priest. He was an accomplished musician and composer. He composed several hymns to the Precious Blood as well as a Votive Mass for St. Gaspar del Bufalo and the Precious Blood Founders Hymn Collection. He had a number of compositions published by GIA Publications of Chicago, including what is probably his most popular, “Come, Let Us Adore.”
His later years plagued with health issues, his strength fading, Fr. Verdi maintained a sense of mission, believing that God was calling him to something more. His own suffering made him even more attuned to the suffering of others. He once said, “All those people who were sick in the Gospels and came to Jesus—it’s easy for me now to say the same thing they said, ‘Lord help me.’ It teaches you empathy; it expands your ability to love. Suffering is a way of getting to the real truth of things: that we’re all fragile, that we all need each other. Bishop Sheen used to say, ‘So much suffering is wasted because it is not offered up to God,’ as a way of expressing one’s love for others. I try not to waste my suffering. I offer it up for myself and for anyone who needs it.”
Fr. Verdi, the oldest in his family, is survived by his brother, Richard (Mary), Bronx, N.Y.; and his sister, Barbara (Frank) Rakas, Yonkers, N.Y.
Because Assumption Chapel at St. Charles Center remains closed to the public, a Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated privately on Friday, May 14. Fr. Jeffrey Kirch, C.PP.S., provincial director, presiding.
Burial followed in the Community cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Cincinnati Province.
May he rest in peace.