I had the opportunity recently to sit down and talk to Fr. Robert J. Armato of Our Lady of Hope Parish. I'll say at the outset, Fr. Bob as he's content with being called, is very personable and forthcoming with his story so let's start at the beginning.
Fr. Bob was born in 1952 in Ridgewood, New York to Benjamin and Phyllis Armato who currently live in Maspeth in a house his grandfather bought new in 1936. His early years were spent in Maspeth and he attended Our Lady of Hope School, graduating in 1966 as part of the first graduating class. He went on to Christ the King HS, Queens College, St. John's University, and the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington New York where he received his M. Div. (Master of Divinity) Degree in Theology in 1995.
Fr. Bob was ordained to the priesthood on May 20, 1995 by Bishop Thomas V. Daily at the Cathedral-Basilica of St. James in Brooklyn.
His current status at Our Lady of Hope since September 15, 2012 is that of Parochial Vicar, a status in which he served at several other parishes in Brooklyn and Queens. Also he was a Pastor at St. Frances Cabrini in Bensonhurst from June 2005 to 2009. He speaks Italian and Spanish and limited Croatian.
A snapshot of some Fr. Bob's responsibilities and affiliations indicates that he was a founding member of the Middle Village Bi-centennial Committee (est. 1974), the Diocesan Liturgical Commission, the Insurance Commission and the Presbyteral Council. He was also in the insurance industry for 16 years (1974-90) before going into the Seminary.
Fr. Bob and I spent more than a moment talking about Middle Village and how safe it feels to be nestled in the heart of a community that is burgeoning with progress while in its own way stays the same! How does that happen? Easily when you have intact families deeply mired with their children in neighborhood activities, which tend to have the effect of stabilizing a community. Nearby Houses of Worship such as Our Lady of Hope Church and School contribute immensely to maintaining that stability.
Into the future with Fr. Bob and his status in Middle Village he told me that since his parents live nearby and there are other back-up clergy in OLH he, Fr. Bob, feels a comfort in knowing that he can get to his parents' home quickly if an emergency occurs which happened in the past when his Mom became seriously ill and he was on other assignments. His quick availability for his parents gives him a peace of mind and is also beneficial to his parents but he was quick to say he's available with any assignment he is given and will serve his Church wherever he is needed.
Fr. Bob's interests are very broad based with hobbies that include travel, study of history and archaeology, languages and geology, paleontology and classical architecture. He also loves to cook, particularly Italian food. No surprises there! He's also into gardening, woodworking and carpentry.
As I conclude this article on Fr. Robert J. Armato I think it's safe to say that you will continue to know the man better as he goes forward as Parochial Vicar in Our Lady of Hope Parish. We will all come to know him as the personable and accessible person he is and we wish him the best of luck as he serves our community.