Luke O’Connell, OFM
1929 – 2000
Fr. Luke O’Connell, OFM, was born in Derby, Conn., on April 25, 1929. He spent a year at Fairfield University and another at St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y.
In 1949, he entered the Province’s novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., and professed temporary vows the following year. Fr. Luke made his solemn profession of vows in 1953 and was ordained a priest in 1955.
In his early priesthood, Fr. Luke served 13 years as a foreign missionary — seven in Japan and six in Brazil — learning to speak both Japanese and Portuguese and publishing Masses in each language. He also spent an early year at Our Lady’s Chapel in New Bedford, Mass., and two brief stints at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston. Then came a year as assistant in Clarksville, Va., two as chaplain at St. Mary’s Hospital in Hoboken, N.J., and three at St. Stephen’s Church in Croghan, N.Y.
Overall, Fr. Luke spent six years in New Bedford in three stints, six in Boston in three stints, and nine at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City, where he was also a well-liked chaplain on the pilgrimages of the Franciscan Family Circle. His final assignment was to Albany’s St. Francis Chapel ministry, served from Siena College Friary.
In March 2000, he retired to St. Anthony Residence in Boston. Fr. Luke was a tall, stout figure crowned with a thatch of silvery hair. Among his many skills were superior computer literacy and musical talent on piano and accordion.
Fr. Luke died Sept. 1, 2000, at Beth-Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He was 71 years old, a professed friar for 50 years and a priest for 45 years.