Demetrius O'Friel, OFM
1924 – 1999
Fr. Demetrius O’Friel, OFM, was born on Dec. 18, 1924 in Altoona, Pa. In 1942, he enrolled at St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y., and spent two years there before entering the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., in 1944. He professed temporary vows one year later, made his solemn profession in 1948 and was ordained in 1950.
Because of his exceptional scholastic record, Fr. Demetrius’s first priestly assignment was to study canon law at the Antonianum in Rome. This was interrupted by a four-year assignment at St. Elizabeth’s Parish, Denver, before he was awarded the doctorate in 1959. He taught canon law at Christ the King Seminary, Allegany, N.Y., for three years before moving into pastoral ministry at the New Bedford, Mass., friary for 14 years.
Fr. Demetrius served as pastor of St. Mary’s Parish, Obernburg, N.Y., for eight years, where he completely renovated and modernized the friary, which had been devastated by fire. After that, he spent one year regrouping at the old St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson before being sent to St. Paul’s University, Ottawa, Canada, to update himself on the new Code. He fell in love with the assignment and never returned to serve in the states, spending the next 16 years studying and researching a university there. He became seriously ill in 1998 and was assigned to Holy Name Friary, Ringwood, N.J.
He died there on March 15, 1999. Fr. Demetrius was 74 years old, a professed friar for 53 years and a priest for 48 years.