John Peter Farrell, O.P.
Born: December 30, 1907
Professed: August 16, 1933
Ordained: May 17, 1939
Died: November 25, 2003
Father John Peter Farrell, who was known in the Province as “Pete”, was born on December 10, 1907, in West Warwick, RI, the son of Emma Louise (Walsh) and John Francis Farrell. He had two sisters, Sister John Dominic, O.P. (Blauvelt) and Mrs. Louise Tynan, and one brother, Charles Albert (“Charlie”) Farrell, O.P., just over ten years his junior.
Pete graduated from LaSalle Academy in Providence, RI, and attended Providence College before entering the Order at St. Rose, Kentucky, in 1932. After his profession on August 16, 1933, he studied at the House of Studies in River Forest, Illinois (1933-36), St. Joseph in Somerset, Ohio (1936-39), and the House of Studies in Washington, DC (1939-41). He was ordained to the priesthood on May 17, 1939 at Somerset by Most Rev. James Joseph Hartley, Bishop of Columbus.
After the completion of his studies in Washington, Pete enrolled as a chaplain in the U.S. Naval Reserve during World War II, serving from 1941 to 1945 in Kodiak, Alaska, with the USS Pocomoke in the South Pacific, and at the Naval Air Station in Kaniohi, Hawaii. He attained the rank of Commander.
Upon his return from the war, Pete served in various capacities, as a teacher of religion at Catholic University and a chaplain at Mt. Alto Veterans Administration Hospital (1945-46), as a preacher on the Mission Band (1946-47 and 1950-57), in the Diocese of San Diego, CA, as secretary to the Bishop and of the Matrimonial Bureau (1947-50), at St. Catherine’s Mother House in Springfield, KY as chaplain and teacher, and finally (for forty years, from 1958 to 1998) as chaplain to St. Dominic’s Home for Children and St. Dominic’s Convent in Blauvelt, NY.
In a letter of 1975, one of the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt paid this tribute to Pete: “I may add that Father has always shown a deep interest in the children and fatherly concern for our sick and aged Sisters, [and] that he is a source of edification for us all.”
In failing health as he attained his early nineties, Pete was assigned to Mohun Health Care Center in Columbus, OH on February 9, 1998, where he was lovingly cared for until his death on November 23, 2003.
The Provincial, V. Rev. Dominic Izzo, O.P., was celebrant at the Mass of Christian Burial. Fr. Charles Farrell, O.P., was the homilist for his brother. Burial followed in the Dominican Friars’ cemetery at St. Joseph Church in Somerset, OH.