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Church Denies Gotti Funeral Mass

Burial: But mob boss will be interred next to his son in a Roman Catholic cemetery in New York.

June 13, 2002|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Notorious mob boss John Gotti will be interred in a Roman Catholic cemetery alongside his son, but his family was denied permission to hold a funeral Mass for the convicted killer.

Gotti, responsible for at least five murders during his bloody reign atop the Gambino crime family, will not receive a Mass of Christian burial, Father Andrew Vaccari, chancellor of the Diocese of Brooklyn, said Wednesday.

Instead, Vaccari said in a one-sentence statement, "there can be a Mass for the dead sometime after the burial of John Gotti."

Gotti died of cancer Monday at a prison hospital in Missouri. He had been sentenced to life in prison in 1992.

The decision on the Mass echoed the ruling made by church officials after the Gotti-ordered murder of his Gambino predecessor, "Big Paul" Castellano, in 1985. Castellano's family received permission for a private Mass after his burial, but was denied a funeral Mass with the body in the church. But unlike Gotti, Castellano was also denied burial in a Catholic ceremony because of his life of crime.

Gotti's remains were removed from the Missouri prison on Tuesday for their eventual return to New York and his family, which has been splintered by federal prosecution. Two of his brothers, his son and his ex-son-in-law were all jailed at the time of his death; another brother and a nephew were under indictment.

But the family released no information about plans for a funeral or wake. A spokesman for Gotti's daughter, Victoria Gotti, said only that there would be a "private service."

Gotti will end up in the family mausoleum that holds his son Frank, who died in 1980 at age 12 when he was accidentally struck by a neighbor's car. The neighbor, 51-year-old John Favara, disappeared four months after the accident and is believed to have been murdered.

The mausoleum is inside St. John's Cemetery in Queens.

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