Neil Padden, OFM
1922 – 2005
Fr. Neil Padden, OFM, was born on Nov. 17, 1922 in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. From 1943 to 1945, he served in the U.S. Air Force.
In 1951, he was received into the Province’s novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., professing first vows the following year. Fr. Neil professed solemn vows in 1955 at Christ the King Seminary in Allegany, N.Y., and was ordained a priest in Mount Saint Sepulchre Friary Church, Washington, D.C. that same year.
Fr. Neil’s first assignments were to St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, St. Francis Chapel in Providence, R.I., Sacred Heart Church in Rochelle Park, N.J., and Our Lady’s Chapel, New Bedford, Mass.
In 1961, he moved to New York City to serve as parochial vicar at St. Francis of Assisi Church in W. 31st Street. He them moved to Wilkes-Barre, Pa., in 1967 to be guardian and pastor of St. Joseph Church, a role he filled until 1976. Fr. Neil then served at Assumption Church in Wood-Ridge, N.J. until 1985 in various capacities.
In 1985, Fr. Neil moved south to serve as guardian of St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla. After nearly a decade in Florida, he moved back north to be pastor of St. Francis Church in Narrowsburg, N.Y., for two years before returning to St. Petersburg as senior associate friar at the friary.
In 2000, he moved once more to St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J., where he assistant at St. Bonaventure Church in Paterson until November 2005.
Fr. Neil was a man of compassion, who radiated gentleness and humility of heart. A truly sacramental and pastoral friar priest, Fr. Neil was the essence of kindness and generosity. His contagious smile will live on in the memories and hearts of the friars who knew him.
He died Nov. 6, 2005, in Butler. Fr. Neil was just shy of 83 years old, a professed friar for 53 years and a priest for 50 years.