Edward Donohue, OFM
1929 – 2014
Fr. Edward Donohue, OFM, was born Aug. 28, 1929 in Jersey City, N.J. He was educated by the Jesuits, first at St. Peter’s Preparatory School in Jersey City, where he graduated in 1947, and then at St. Peter’s College for three years as a business major. However, discerning a Franciscan vocation, he entered St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., in 1950.
He was received into the Order in 1951 at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., and given the name Kilian. He professed first vows one year later, made his solemn profession in 1955 and was ordained in 1956.
Upon completing his theological education in 1957, Fr. Ed and his classmates went to St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, inaugurating the “fifth year” program of pastoral theology and practical training for recently ordained priests. The following year, he returned to his native New Jersey as assistant pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Rochelle Park.
Fr. Ed discovered that he thoroughly enjoyed parochial work and devoted the next half-century to serving the people in parishes throughout North Jersey. He remained in Rochelle Park until 1963, when he was assigned to St. Joseph Parish in East Rutherford. Following the Second Vatican Council, he returned to using his baptismal name.
A member of the younger generation of leaders appointed by Fr. Finian Kerwin, OFM, after the Chapter of 1967, Fr. Ed became pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in West Milford, where he served for the next six years. He took a sabbatical in 1973 to update his theological education before he joined the team ministry at Holy Name Parish in Garfield. He remained there for five years before being named guardian and pastor of St. Leo Parish, Elmwood Park, where he ministered until 1985.
Fr. Ed was then stationed at Assumption of Our Blessed Lady Parish in Wood-Ridge, N.J. Three years later, he returned to St. Joseph Parish, East Rutherford, where he happily ministered as parochial vicar for the next 17 years. While there, he instituted the RCIA program and a bereavement group. Throughout his ministry, he also worked as an advocate in the Newark Archdiocesan marriage tribunal. Fr. Ed retired from active ministry in 2005 and resided at St. Anthony Friary, Butler, N.J., until he transferred to Holy Name Friary, Ringwood, N.J., in 2011.
He was a friar who delighted in being a parish priest. He had a relaxed way of interacting with everyone and accepting them as they were, whether they were children in the schoolyard or men and women in struggling marriages. An avid storyteller, he would often get so caught up in recounting a story that he would start laughing before he got to the punch line.
He died on Feb. 21, 2014 at Holy Name Friary. Fr. Ed was 84 years old, a professed Franciscan friar for 61 years and a priest for 57 years.