Patrick Francis Connolly, O.P.
Born: Jun. 17, 1922
Professed: Aug. 5, 1946
Ordained: Jun. 12, 1952
Died: Mar. 13, 2007
Father Pat Connolly was a native of the Bronx, NY, and received his early education from the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt at St. Pius V grade school before moving on to public high schools and eventually to Providence College as a pre-ecclesiastical candidate for admission to the Province of St. Joseph. Because of his poor eyesight, the young Patrick Connolly was asked to return home, but as a foretaste of his typical determination, he sought medical help and was able to return to Providence College in the fall of 1943, where he was once again accepted as a candidate for the priesthood in the Order of Preachers.
With the rest of his classmates, he was clothed in the habit of St. Dominic with the religious name Francis on August 4, 1945, at St. Rose Priory in Springfield, KY, and, having completed his Novitiate year, made his simple profession of vows there on August 5, 1946.
Brother Francis Connolly followed the regular course of Dominican formation, completing three years of philosophical studies at St. Joseph Priory in Somerset, OH and then finishing his study of theology at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC in 1952. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 12, 1952 at the Church of St. Dominic in Washington, DC, by Archbishop Patrick O’Boyle.
Throughout the early years of his priestly ministry, Father Connolly served with remarkable effectiveness at St. Louis Bertrand Parish in Louisville, KY, and at St. Dominic Parish in Youngstown, OH. It was at the latter assignment that Father Connolly had two very different responsibilities, as described by his then Prior and Pastor: “He was a teacher at Mooney High School and he was a parish priest at Dominic’s. Every morning after he celebrated Mass, he would bring Holy Communion to a few shut-ins in the parish, get a quick cup of coffee, participate in community prayers and rush off to meet his classes at Mooney.” It is a tribute to his competence and concern that Father Connolly is fondly remembered by generations of the alumni of Mooney High School.
From 1977 to 1982, he served as Sisters’ Chaplain at the Dominican Convent in Sparkill, NY, and as teacher at Holy Rosary High School there.
Then came what turned out to be a rather dramatic change in the direction and focus of Father Pat Connolly’s priestly service. Having been assigned to St. Dominic Parish in Washington, DC, and having manifested a special concern for the sick and disabled, he was asked to serve as Chaplain at the Walter Reed Military Hospital, where he exhibited a profound admiration for the veterans resident there. Not surprisingly, Father Connolly offered himself as a contract Chaplain in the United States Army, in recognition of the very real need. Though not officially a Military Chaplain, he brought his dedication and priestly service to members of the Armed Forces in several locations in the Washington area, including Fort McNair, Fort Myers, and the Pentagon.
As a result, Father Connolly was invited to serve as a contract Chaplain overseas and from l987 to 1992 was often the only Catholic priest on several military bases in Germany. His earlier accomplishments as parish priest, teacher, licensed psychologist and counselor, and hospital chaplain equipped him admirably as he carried out his duties among the military personnel, both at home and abroad.
In recent years, because of his advancing years and failing health, Father Connolly took on limited service at St. Catherine of Siena parish in New York City, and at Holy Innocents parish in Pleasantville, NY, and ultimately as a resident of the Province’s Center of Assisted Living at St. Dominic Priory in Washington, DC.
For the last several months of his life, Father Connolly was lovingly and professionally cared for at the Carroll Manor Nursing Home in Washington, where he quietly died on March 13, 2007, at the age of 85.
His Dominican brothers chanted the Office of the Dead in the chapel at St. Dominic Priory on the evening of March 15, and on the following morning the Funeral Mass was concelebrated in St. Dominic Church, with Father Dominic Izzo, Provincial, as principal celebrant, and Father Raymond Vandegrift as homilist. At the Dominican section in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Father James Muller, Prior at St. Dominic’s, conducted the committal services.
May Father Patrick Francis Connolly, O.P., who brought such constancy and total dedication to his service of God’s people, both military and civilian, rest forever in the peace of Christ.