Raphael L. McDonald, OFM
1913 – 2000
Fr. Raphael McDonald, OFM, was born on Oct. 17, 1913, in Oil City, Pa., in the Diocese of Erie. After a year at Notre Dame University, he switched to St. Bonaventure College, Allegany, N.Y., graduating in 1938.
He was received into the Order at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., on Aug. 12, 1938, and professed temporary vows Aug. 14, 1939. He made his profession of solemn vows Sept. 17, 1942, and was ordained a priest June 11, 1944.
Fr. Raphael fulfilled 23 varied assignments during his 50-or-so years of active ministry. His first assignment was to Mexico as a member of a team of pioneer missionaries; he was expelled after three years by the anti-Catholic government and spent a year in a Hispanic parish in Hebronville, Texas.
Thereafter, his command of Spanish influenced much of his ministry. He spent two years in Puerto Rico, five in Bolivia in two stints, one in Lima, Peru, and 11 in Atlanta, Ga., as assistant director of the archdiocesan Spanish apostolate and, later, as local director of the United States Catholic Conference’s Department of Resettlement and Migration and Refugee Services.
Other extended assignments were for nine years with the Denver mission band; five as chaplain at St. Clare’s Hospital in New York City; and five at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston. Additionally, there were brief stints at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City, Our Lady’s Chapel in New Bedford, Mass., St. Bonaventure University for studies and even a year in Hong Kong.
In 1994, Fr. Raphael was admitted to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J. Seemingly improved, he was released to St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla., where he spent a year before being re-admitted to Ringwood in 1996. He died in the friary there on July 11, 2000. Fr. Raphael was 86 years old, a professed Franciscan for 60 years and a priest for 56.