April 4, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
An East Elmhurst priest is the latest Queens clergyman to die from COVID-19.
Father Gioacchino Basile, 60, pastor at Saint Gabriel’s Church located at 26-26 98th Street in East Elmhurst, died Saturday morning from coronavirus complications. He had been suffering from underlying health conditions, the Diocese of Brooklyn said in a statement.
Basile is the third priest from Queens to succumb to the virus in just eight days and the second clergyman serving in the Diocese of Brooklyn to die from coronavirus.
Basile’s passing follows on from the deaths of Father Jorge Ortiz-Garay of St. Brigid’s Church in Wyckoff Heights, Brooklyn, on March 28, and Father Antonio Checo of Saint Mark’s Church in Jackson Heights, who died on April 1.
“Father Gioacchino Basile, a native of Calabria, Italy who died today, was small in stature, but mighty in energy for the Lord,” said Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn.
“In addition to English and Italian, Father spoke Spanish fluently and ministered well to all of the people of his parish and the faithful of the Diocese in Brooklyn and Queens,” DiMarzio said.
Basile was ordained a priest in 1995 and first ministered at Saint Joseph’s Church in New Jersey.
He then served in Puerto Rico for a decade before moving to the Diocese of Brooklyn, where he was assigned Administrator of Saint Gabriel’s in 2008.
Basile was trained in the Neocatecumenal Movement – which provides post-baptismal formation to adults – and served as the Spiritual Director of Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Douglaston.
Basile also assisted as a chaplain at LaGuardia Airport.
He was to mark the 25th Anniversary of his ordination later this year.
Saint Gabriel’s Church had broken the news of Basile’s passing earlier today via its Facebook page.
“With sadness we inform you that our dearest pastor, Fr. Gioacchino Basile, was called by the Father early this morning,” it read.
“We ask you for your prayers for his eternal rest and the consolation of his family. May the God of live welcome his faithful servant into his kingdom.