BOSTON — The life of Aubrey McNeil, OFM, 72, who died earlier this month, was celebrated during services at St. Anthony Shrine on Dec. 11. Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, presided at the 10:30 a.m. Mass. A memorial Mass will be celebrated on Dec. 15 at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Anderson, S.C., where Aubrey had been stationed for the last 12 years.
Aubrey, a professed Franciscan friar for 36 years and a priest for 32, died Dec. 5 at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Plymouth, Mass. He was buried at Silver Brook Cemetery in Anderson, S.C.
Aubrey was born on Feb. 16, 1945 in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada, to Donald and Monica (née McInnis) McNeil and baptized on March 11, 1945 at St. Joseph’s Church in Reserve, N.S. The family moved to Roxbury, Mass., where Aubrey attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help grammar school. He then attended St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., for high school and the first two years of college. He earned a B.A. in English from Stonehill College in North Easton, Mass., in 1967.
After spending some years as a lay missionary in Africa and as a registered nurse, Aubrey was received into the Franciscan Order on June 15, 1980 at St. Francis Friary, Brookline, Mass. He earned a master of divinity degree from the Washington Theological Union and professed his solemn vows on June 15, 1985 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City. Aubrey was ordained on Oct. 19, 1985 at St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Md.
After his ordination, Aubrey was appointed co-pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Camden, N.J., where he served from 1985 until 1989. The following year, he was assigned as pre-novitiate formation director in Mbarara, Uganda. He returned to the U.S. in 1990, serving as parochial vicar at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City until 1992.
For the next 13 years, Aubrey was stationed at Holy Cross Parish in the Bronx, N.Y., first as associate formation director and parochial vicar and then as pastor. In 2005, Aubrey was assigned to St. Mary of the Angels Parish in Anderson, where he served as pastor for 12 years. He also served as spiritual spiritual advisor for the Mother Cabrini Emerging Community of the Secular Franciscans in Anderson, as well as sacramental minister at St. Joseph Church in Anderson.
Aubrey is survived by his mother along with his brother, Daniel McNeil, and sister, Donna Wood, all of whom live in Plymouth, Mass.
Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars – Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.
— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas
- “Father Aubrey McNeil, a Franciscan Priest in Anderson, Has Died” – Dec. 6, 2017, Independent Mail
- “A Father’s Love: Anderson Priest Has a Heart for the Least Among Us” – May 28, 2010, The Independent Mail of Anderson