Cormac Dungan, OFM
1914 – 2001
Fr. Cormac Dungan, OFM, was born on March 27, 1914 in Brighton, Mass. After graduating from Boston Latin School in 1932, he attended St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary for two years. He was received into the Order in 1934 at the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterosn, N.J., where he professed temporary vows one year later. Fr. Cormac made his solemn profession in 1938 and was ordained in 1941.
His first priestly assignment was to the retreat ministry at St. Francis Friary in Brookline, Mass., where he served for three years. He then studied Chinese at the Yale University Institute of Oriental Languages with Fr. Francis Frawley, OFM, and Fr. Jerome Donnelly, OFM. The trio then joined Fr. Seraphin Priestley, OFM, and sailed from New York to Asia in 1946.
At the Shashi mission in China, Fr. Cormac lived at a Catholic orphanage and served in various mission stations in the area. As the communist armed forces advanced through the area, fleeing parents abandoned their sick children at the orphanage. Its cemetery filled up with little markers Fr. Cormac used to mark the gravesites. The communists accused him of murdering the children, arrested him, and put him in jail. After six months, he was released and expelled from the country.
Between 1951 and 1953, he taught at St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary and served on the staff of St. Anthony Shrine in Boston. He was assigned to the mission in Japan in 1953. Fr. Cormac served briefly as pastor at the Ota Shi mission and then became superior of the Japanese mission.
In 1960, he returned to America and became an associate in the Franciscan Mission Union office in New York City, where he served until 1968. He then returned to Japan for 11 years, serving as local superior and teaching English at the Gumma-ken friary. In 1979, he became an associate at St. Anthony Shrine and ministered there until he retired in 1986 to St. Anthony Residence in Boston.
He died on Nov. 10, 2001 at Presentation Nursing Manor, Brighton, Mass., within the parish where he was born. Fr. Cormac was 99 years old, a professed Franciscan friar for 66 years and a priest for 60.