In Memoriam: Joseph X. O’Connor, O.S.A. (1928 – 2017)

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Memorial Mass in the presence of the body:
St. Thomas of Villanova Monastery Chapel
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
7:00 PM

Father O’Connor’s body was transferred to Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Friday June 23, 2017
9:30 AM
St Mary’s Church
300 Haverhill Street
Lawrence, Massachusetts

Funeral Mass:
Friday June 23, 2017
10:30 AM
St. Mary’s Church
300 Haverhill Street
Lawrence, Massachusetts

Burial was in the Augustinian Plot in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Lawrence Massachusetts, following the Funeral Mass

Father Joseph Xavier O’Connor, O.S.A., was born on May 26, 1928, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the son of John E. O’Connor and Elizabeth O’Connor. He had two brothers and five sisters, and was baptized on June 4, 1928, at Saint Mary’s Church, Lawrence. He attended Saint Laurence O’Toole Parish School from 1933 to 1941, and Central Catholic High School, Lawrence, from 1941 to 1945. He was accepted as a postulant at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, and entered the Order on September 9, 1946. Following a year at Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, New York, he professed simple vows on September 10, 1947, and attended Villanova College from 1947 to 1950, where he received his BA in Philosophy. He pursued theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, DC, and obtained an MA in Religious Education at the Catholic University of America. He professed solemn vows on September 10, 1950, and was ordained to the priesthood at Augustinian College on December 21, 1953, by Archbishop Patrick O’Boyle.

Father Joe was assigned in 1954 to Saint John of Sahagun Friary and Archbishop Carroll High School, Washington, D.C. He then volunteered for the recently-founded mission in Japan, and sailed on September 6, 1958.  From 1958 to 1960, he was assigned to Our Mother of Consolation Friary and Parish, Nagasaki, while attending the Japanese Language School in Tokyo. From 1960 to 1963 he ministered in the Nagasaki parish, and in 1963 was assigned to the mission parish of Saint Augustine, Fukuoka, as pastor and superior, as well as novice master for Brother Joseph Akakura during the latter’s novitiate year from 1963 to 1964. During his years in Japan, Father Joe served as a judge in the beatification process of Father Maximilian Kolbe, a martyr of charity who was executed in a concentration camp during World War II.

In 1974, Father Joe returned to the United States and to Lawrence, Massachusetts, where he served at Saint Mary Parish, as associate pastor and, from August to December 1977, as Administrator of Saint Augustine Parish. From 1977 to 1988, he was assigned to Resurrection of Our Lord Parish, Dania, Florida, where he served as pastor from 1978 to 1986. In 1988 he returned to Lawrence and to Saint Augustine Parish. In the summer of 1988 he participated in Clinical Pastoral Education for hospital chaplaincy. From 1990 to 1991 he served as pastor at Immaculate Conception Parish, Hoosick Falls, New York, and in that latter year was assigned to Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, Atlantic City, New Jersey, the last Augustinian pastor of that parish. From 1996 to 2007, Father Joe was stationed at Our Mother of Good Counsel Monastery, Merrimack College, and then at Austin House, North Andover, Massachusetts, and helped out in various parishes in the Province. In 2007 he was assigned to Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Staten Island, New York and served there until 2010. In April, 2010, Father Joe was assigned to Saint Thomas of Villanova Monastery, Villanova, Pennsylvania. 

Father Joe O’Connor died on Monday morning, June 19, 2017, at Bryn Mawr Hospital after several hours of recovery there. Up until the very end of his life he maintained a quick wit, and delighted in entertaining friars and nursing staff of the monastery with his poetry and singing. Despite suffering the effects of limited dementia, he preserved a good memory at 90 years of age, together with a refreshing sense of humor.

In lieu of flowers, the Augustinian Community of which Fr. O’Connor was a beloved member wishes contributions to be made to: The Augustinian Fund: Care of Sick and Elderly, c/o Provincial Offices, 214 Ashwood Road, Villanova, PA 19085-0340.