Alfred E. Smith, O.S.A.

1931 – 1986 (July 12)

Alfred Emmanuel Smith was born in New York on August 8, 1931, one of five children of Arthur WIlliam Smith and Anne M. Hess. He was named for his grandfather, Alfred, governor of New York, and the first Catholic nominated for the presidency of the United States by a major party. After parochial school in Holy Trinity Parish, Manhattan, and Resurrection Parish in Rye, New York, he attended Manhattan Preparatory School in the Bronx. Following graduation, he became a postulant at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, N.Y. In 1951, he entered the novitiate at New Hamburg, N. Y., and on September 10, 1952, he professed simple vows. In 1955, he professed solemn vows.

After graduating from Villanova University in June 1955 with a B.A. degree in philosophy, Alfred pursued theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, DC, as well as sociology at the Catholic University. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 7, 1958 in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. He celebrated his first Mass of Thanksgiving in Resurrection Church, Rye, assisted by his second cousin, Father Thomas A. Burke, O.S.A., and his older brother, Father Arthur F. Smith, O.S.A., who preached the sermon.

Father Smith’s first assignment was to Monsignor Bonner High School, Drexel Hill, PA, where he earned a reputation for his rapport with the students. He organized the Bonner Breakfast Club during the 1960s, where students would come early to serve at Masses and then be treated to breakfast. This harmony with the students attracted many students to the Order. In 1971, he was assigned to Malvern Prep. A year later, he began his ministry as a parish priest at Saint Augustine’s Parish, Troy, N.Y., where he became involved in the “Right to Life Movement.” He founded “The Society of Our Mother of Good Counsel for Life” and became its effective spokesman in the Troy-Albany area. In 1979, he was assigned to Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, the Bronx, first teaching in the school and later working as associate pastor in the parish. He continued his work for the unborn and was also involved in many programs for the elderly and youth of the parish. The scope of his activity was immense.

On July 12, 1986 Father Smith died suddenly of a massive coronary, as he was preparing to celebrate the 6:30 a.m. Mass. During the two days and nights before the funeral Mass at Saint Nicholas, a flood of people from the parish, as well as Saint Augustine Parish in Troy, and Monsignor Bonner High School attested to the effectiveness of his work. Sadness, bewilderment and hope pervaded the congregation.

Father Smith was buried in his family plot in Westchester County, N.Y., following a second Mass at the Church of the Resurrection in Rye, New York, presided over by John Cardinal O’Connor, Archbishop of New York. Memorial Masses were celebrated at Monsignor Bonner High School and Saint Augustine Church in Troy.