Henry L. Madden, OFM
1920 – 2011
Fr. Henry Madden, OFM, was born Feb. 24, 1920 in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was baptized at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church and attended the parish elementary school, graduating in 1934. Although the church was staffed by Redemptionists, his pastor recognized that he “had his heart set on joining the Franciscans for at least three years and could not be shaken from his determination to enter.” He heartily recommended Fr. Henry to St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., where Fr. Henry completed high school and the first two years of college.
He entered the Order in 1940 at St. Bonaventure Church in Paterson, N.J., and professed temporary vows there one year later. Fr. Henry professed solemn vows in 1944 and was ordained a priest in 1946.
Following ordination, Fr. Henry was assigned to St. Anthony Shrine in Boston from 1947 to 1953. He then served as parochial vicar at Holy Cross Church in the Bronx, N.Y., from 1953 to 1955. That year, he was appointed pastor of St. Mary Church in Americus, Ga., where he served until 1961, overseeing the construction of a new central friary for the Southwest Georgia missions, as well as a new parish hall and church. Fr. Henry then returned north, serving as parochial vicar at several parishes, including St. Anne Church in Fair Lawn, N.J., from 1961 to 1970, St. Bonaventure Church, Allegany, N.Y., from 1970 to 1975 and St. Bonaventure Church, Paterson, from 1975 to 1983.
He was then appointed parochial vicar at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City, where he also assisted at the Province’s Franciscan Family Pilgrimages and Tours Office. In 1988, Fr. Henry began 17 years of service at the Northway Mall Chapel in Albany, N.Y., residing at St. Bernardine of Siena Friary in Loudonville, N.Y. He retired from active ministry in August 2005 to St. Anthony Friary, Butler, N.J., and transferred in November to Holy Name Friary, Ringwood, N.J.
A committed Franciscan, Fr. Henry spent his ministry caring for the people of God. His affability and good humor were appreciated both by his fellow friars and the people he served so faithfully. Fr. Henry was proud of his ethnic heritage and his love for Irish music was a byword in the Province.
He died on May 25, 2011 at Holy Name Friary. Fr. Henry was 91 years old, a professed Franciscan friar for 69 years and a priest for 64 years.