We regret to inform you that Reverend Monsignor Ronald A. Tosti, of Cotuit, MA, died April 6, 2024, following a brief illness at Charlton Memorial Hospital, in Fall River. He was 87 years old. 

Rev. Msgr. Tosti was born November 2, 1936, in Taunton, MA, the only child of the late Antonio M. Tosti and the late Norma (Ginesi) Tosti. He was educated at the Taunton Public Schools, graduating in 1954. At the same time, he studied piano at Boston University College of Music until he entered St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, CT. In 1956, he received his associate degree, and then went on to St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, MD where in 1958 he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Continuing at that same institution for four years of theological studies, Rev. Msgr. Tosti was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Fall River on May 11, 1962, by Bishop James L. Connolly, DD, Bishop of Fall River. 

Rev. Msgr. Tosti’s first assignment as a Diocesan Priest was as Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, in Osterville, MA. During this tenure he raised money for, and designed the interior of what was to become Queen of All Saints Chapel in Mashpee, MA. He remained there until 1968 and then for a brief period was parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Parish, and Director of Sacred Heart School in Fall River, MA. From there, Rev. Msgr. Tosti went to Fordham University in New York where in 1970 he received a Master of Arts Degree in Religious Studies. Upon graduation, he was appointed as Diocesan Director of Religious Education, a post he held through 1973 when Bishop Cronin reorganized the education department of the diocese and subsumed religious education into Catholic School Education. Rev. Msgr. Tosti then returned to parish ministry at Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Fall River, MA. There, Tosti was present for the disastrous fire in April of 1971 which brought about the total destruction of Saints Peter and Paul Church. He oversaw the building of the new church, school, and parish center in what had been the previous parish school. In 1977, Bishop Daniel A. Cronin named Rev. Msgr. Tosti Pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New Bedford, MA. In 1984, he was sent to Cape Cod to found, develop, and build a new parish that was established as Christ the King Parish in Mashpee, MA in November of 1984, and dedicated in November of 1989. Rev. Msgr. Tosti remained as pastor there until his retirement in June of 2006 after nearly 45 years as a priest. 

His 23 years as founding pastor of Christ the King Parish was clearly the happiest time in his life as a priest. There he empowered hundreds of people to ministry in the Church. He saw that empowerment as his principal task as pastor and leader of a faith community. To empower, trust, affirm, and thank; the hallmark of his ministry in a time of a changing world and particularly in a church that was undergoing not only change but at the turn of this century, a time of excruciating pain. He was ably assisted by Deacon Robert D. Lemay as a pastoral assistant and permanent Deacons, Frank Fantasia, and Gregory Beckel. Four women religious, two Sisters of Mercy, Dympna Smith, and Shirley Agnew, and two Dominican Sisters of Hope, Annette Roach, and Claire Sinotte, completed the professional staff. Mary Becker, his longtime secretary and office manager, became the kingpin of the considerable organization that serviced nearly three thousand families. As an administrator, he designed, oversaw the building of, and raised the funds to the amount of more than seven million dollars for the completion of Christ the King Parish complex in Mashpee, MA. Before his own retirement, Rev. Msgr. Tosti joyfully retired the debt of the parish to the Diocese of Fall River, was knighted as a member of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher and was presented with the prestigious award of the Order of the Palm. 

In May of 2003, he was named as a Chaplain to the Holy Father by Pope John Paul II with the title of Reverend Monsignor and as a Prelate of Honor in October of 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI with the same title. 

During these 45 years, Rev. Msgr. Tosti had many varied assignments in addition to his parochial duties including: Area Director of Religious Education, Member of the Divine Worship Committee, Defender of the Bond of the Marriage Tribunal, Area Director of Catholic Charities, Secretary to the Diocesan Synod, member of the Priests’ Personnel Board, and Member of the Priests’ Council. In 1977, he was appointed director of the Diocese’ 75th Jubilee Committee and organized a number of programs and events for the 1979 Jubilee year for the whole diocese. In 1977, Tosti was named director of Family Ministry and then formed and established the Family Life Center in North Dartmouth, MA, a retreat, and office facility that he directed for nearly a decade. Along with the marriage preparation programs and retreats, Rev. Msgr. Tosti continued the support groups for Divorced and Separated Catholics and started the Widowed Support Groups. In 1995, Bishop O’Malley appointed Rev. Msgr. Tosti as the Director of Pastoral Planning, a position he held for nearly ten years, traveling throughout the diocese preparing parishes to merge or close. He served on numerous other committees and councils throughout these years. 

Rev. Msgr. Tosti was devoted to his parents, to his uncle Gene Ginesi, his godmother Clara Baldini Hardie, family friends Sarah C. Halligan, and Albina Rogers, as well as long time parishioners Carmine and Annabelle Marchillo. 

On a personal note, Rev. Msgr. Tosti was pretty much known as a “Renaissance Man”. He was once called “the quintessential existentialist.” For him, life consisted of a positive and upbeat philosophy. He was frequently quoted as saying that “This is not a dress rehearsal” – a quote he had engraved on his tombstone. He played the piano all his life and later took up the harp, which he continued to play until his death. Rev. Msgr. Tosti loved to travel and over the years, brought many groups abroad, particularly to Italy. There, he had numerous relatives that he frequently visited as well as entertained at his Cotuit home “Villa Franca” named after his ancestral town in Piedmont “Francavilla”. He was a well-known cook, and in his retirement provided cooking classes in his home each October for many participants. He truly enjoyed entertaining and cooking for his family and friends. Needlepoint was a most pleasant and relaxing hobby for him. He loved to garden, and his gardens were twice utilized by the Cotuit Library for their annual Tour of Cotuit Homes and Gardens. He collected antiques, particularly Rose Medallion Chinese Export, and was also a licensed antique dealer during his retirement years. Rev. Msgr. Tosti enjoyed animals, he had a series of Blue Persian cats, as well as a pair of parakeets in his home, and a school of koi in his fishpond. He enjoyed long walks, and for many years was an avid biker. He was a member of the Sons of Italy at Peter B. Gay Lodge, in Taunton, MA, a member of all of the civic organizations of Cotuit, and for three years was a Trustee and Board Member of the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra and Conservatory of Music. 

Rev. Msgr. Tosti is survived by a number of cousins including the Tosti family, of Taunton, MA, and particularly by Carol A. Tosti Daniels and her family, of Cotuit, MA who became his constant companion upon his retirement, his lifelong friends and fellow priests of the Fall River Diocese: Rev. Edward Healey, Msgr. Barry W. Wall, and the late Rev. James F. Lyons. 

A viewing and wake service will be held on Thursday, April 11, 2024, from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM at Christ the King Church, 5 Job’s Fishing Rd., in Mashpee, MA. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, April 12, 2024, at 11:00 AM at Christ the King Church, 5 Job’s Fishing Rd., in Mashpee, MA, with a reception to follow in the Parish Hall. For those unable to attend in person, the services will be livestreamed and can be viewed at www.christthekingparish.com/live-streaming. Rev. Msgr. Tosti will be laid to rest in a private service at St. Francis Cemetery, in Taunton, MA. 

Flowers are to be omitted. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Matthew 25 Fund of Christ the King Parish, P.O. Box 1800, Mashpee, MA 02649 or online at www.christthekingparish.com/matthew-25-fund

May the Lord grant Monsignor Tosti the fullness of life promised to His faithful ones. 

Diocese of Fall River
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