ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Alexis Morris, OFM, 89, a professed Franciscan friar for 64 years and a priest for 59, died March 3 at Bayfront Medical Center.
A viewing will be held at 9:30 a.m. on March 14 at St. Anthony Friary at 357 Second St. North in St. Petersburg, where he had lived. It will be followed by a 10 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial, celebrated by Joseph Hertel, OFM, guardian of the friary. Burial will be at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Clearwater, Fla.
Alexis was born on July 25, 1926 to Milton and Theresa (nee Grossman) Morris in Far Rockaway, N.Y. He served in the Hospital Corps of the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946. After graduating from Woodmere Academy High School on Long Island, N.Y., he attended Mount St. Mary College in Emmitsburg, Md., for a year.
Alexis converted to Catholicism and was baptized Norman Paul on July 17, 1948 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City. Soon after, he entered St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., where he studied for two years.
He was received into the Franciscan Order in 1950 and professed first vows one year later. After studying philosophy and theology, Alexis professed final vows in 1954 and was ordained three years later.
His first assignment in 1957 was to St. Anthony Church in Butler, N.J., where he served as an associate for one year. During the next three years, he also served at St. Stephen Friary in Croghan, N.Y., St. Benedict the Moor Parish in Winston-Salem, N.C., and St. Joseph Parish in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
The majority of Alexis’s ministry took place in downtown service churches. In 1960, he transferred to St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City, where he worked as an assistant for two years. From 1962 to 1966, he ministered at Our Lady’s Chapel in New Bedford, Mass., St. Francis Friary in Lafayette, N.J., and St. Anthony Shrine in Boston.
In 1966, Alexis was assigned to St. Bonaventure Parish in Paterson, N.J., where he served for one year. He returned to St. Anthony Shrine, serving there from 1968 to 1972 before moving back to Paterson, where he served from 1972 to 1978. For his final assignment, he worked at St. Francis Chapel in Providence, R.I., from 1978 to 1994. He retired to St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg in 1994.
Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars — Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd St., New York, NY 10001-3202.
— Compiled by Carolyn Croke and Maria Hayes
- “Jubilarians Celebrate 50 Years as Priests” — June 21, 2006, HNP Today