Paschal Kerwin, OFM
1905 – 1975
Fr. Paschal was born in New York City on Dec. 7, 1905. As a child, he moved with his family to East Rutherford, N.J., where his family joined St. Joseph Parish, which came under the care of the friars in 1913.
He graduated from St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., and entered the Province’s novitiate in Paterson, N.J., in 1927. The following year, he professed temporary vows and made his profession of solemn vows in 1931. Fr. Paschal was ordained a priest in 1934 in Washington, D.C.
After ordination, Fr. Paschal was sent to the University of Madrid to study Ibero-American history. He was in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War and on more than one occasion was picked up as a fascist and dodged bullets. War conditions forced him to return to the United States, and he served as the retreat director of St. Francis Retreat House in Brookline, Mass.
He taught at Siena College for two years and then joined the United States Navy as a chaplain. Fr. Paschal served in the Pacific and the Atlantic and was awarded 10 commendations and five battle stars before his discharge in 1946.
Fr. Paschal devoted the remaining active years to ministry at New Jersey parishes: in Wood-Ridge, Wanaque, Pompton Lakes and Greenwood Lake.
He died Aug. 22, 1975, in Neptune, N.J. He was 69 years old, a professed friar for 47 years and a priest for 41 years. He authored Big Men of the Little Navy, a book depicting the role of naval military chaplains.