Joseph Bede McGroarty, O.P.
Born: May 14, 1917
Professed: Aug. 6, 1940
Ordained: Jun. 6, 1946
Died: Apr. 3, 2007
On the morning of April 3, 2007, Father Joseph Bede McGroarty, O.P., died peacefully in the Lord at the age of 90.
His long and fruitful life began on May 14, 1917 in Quincy, MA, one of three siblings, whose early education was received in the public elementary and high school in that city. Having recognized early that he was being called to the priesthood in the Order of Preachers, Joseph entered Providence College in 1936 as a pre-ecclesiastical student. He was clothed with the habit and began his Dominican Novitiate on August 15, 1939, at St. Rose Priory in Springfield, KY.
Brother Bede, as he was now known, made his simple profession of vows on August 16, 1940. For the next three years he studied philosophy at St. Joseph Priory in Somerset, OH, and made his solemn profession in 1943 before beginning his study of theology at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC.
Father Joseph Bede McGroarty was ordained to the priesthood on June 6, 1946 at St. Dominic Church in Washington, DC, by Archbishop Lawrence Shehan. It was there that he spent his first year of priestly ministry before being assigned to teach at Aquinas High School in Columbus, OH, from 1948 to 1952.
Father McGroarty joined the United States Navy as Chaplain in 1952, with the permission of his religious superiors, and served with distinction with a Destroyer Squadron and Carrier Group, until he completed his tour of duty in 1955 with the rank of Lieutenant.
Then began an extraordinary variety of apostolates which demonstrated his versatility in serving the people of God for the next twenty years. Among his accomplishments were serving as chaplain to religious communities, including cloistered Dominican Nuns in Cincinnati, OH, active Dominican Sisters in Bronx, NY, and the Sacred Heart Brothers in Belvidere, NJ. Father Bede also spent himself for many years in parochial ministry, principally in Dominican parishes throughout the Province of St. Joseph, including St. Mary’s in New Haven, CT, St. Raymond’s in Providence, RI, St. Antoninus in Newark, NJ, Holy Name of Jesus in Valhalla, NY, and St. Dominic’s in Youngstown, OH.
Ironically, he achieved his most notable success while assigned to assist in a diocesan parish, St. Catherine’s in Holmdel, NJ, where for ten years he was deeply loved and admired by the parishioners who much appreciated his thoughtful homilies and his outgoing personality. Until his final illness, Father McGroarty was cordially welcomed as a returning son whenever he visited St. Catherine’s Parish. When notified of the sad news of his death, the people in Holmdel expressed their deep sorrow and pledged a remembrance in their prayers.
Father Bede’s final assignment was to St. Pius V Priory in Providence, RI, where, even in failing health, he shared with the people of the parish his gifts of sparkling wit and generous service.
Fittingly, his Mass of Resurrection was celebrated at St. Pius on the day after Easter. He was buried in the Dominican plot in St. Francis Cemetery in Providence, RI.
May Father Joseph Bede McGroarty, faithful Dominican, chaplain extraordinary, parish priest renowned, rest in the peace of the Risen Lord forever.