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Longtime New Yorker Felix McGrath Dies

NEW YORK — Felix McGrath, OFM, 87, a professed Franciscan friar for 62 years and a priest for 56, died Nov. 13 at Riverside Premier Rehabilitation Center.

A wake is scheduled for Nov. 19 from 4 to 8 p.m. in the lower church of St. Francis of Assisi on West 31st Street in New York City, with a wake service taking place at 7:30 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in the upper church by Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, at 11 a.m. on Nov. 20 at St. Francis of Assisi Church. Burial is planned for Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Totowa, N.J.

Early Years
Felix was born on May 14, 1930, in New York City to Terrance and Agnes (née Gunning) McGrath and baptized on May 29, 1930, at Sacred Heart Parish in the Bronx. He attended Cardinal Hayes High School before St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., from which he graduated in 1954.

He was received into the Franciscan Order that year on Aug. 12 at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., and professed his first vows one year later. He studied philosophy at St. Francis College in Rye Beach, N.H., and theology at Holy Name College in Washington, D.C. Felix made his solemn profession on Aug. 20, 1958 at Christ the King Seminary in Allegany, N.Y., and was ordained on Feb. 25, 1961 at the Franciscan Monastery, Mount St. Sepulchre in Washington, D.C.

Ministry
Following a year of pastoral education at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, Felix’s first assignment was to Immaculate Conception Friary in Atlanta. While there, he worked with college students in the local Newman Clubs at Georgia Tech and Emory Universities. For the next three years, he was associate pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Rochelle Park, N.J.

In 1965, Felix joined the Province’s mission band, residing first at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., and then, from 1968, at St Francis Friary in Brookline, Mass. In 1970, he returned to parish ministry at St. Patrick’s Church in Buffalo, N.Y., where he served as associate pastor.

Three years later, Felix moved to Washington, D.C., for a year of theological updating, receiving a master’s degree from the Washington Theological Coalition. In 1974, he was assigned to St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City, where he ministered for the next 43 years as an associate, celebrating Mass and hearing confessions. He was appointed the spiritual assistant to the Secular Franciscans of St. Thomas More Fraternity, based at the parish, in 2007. He was still active at the parish at the time of his death.

Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars – Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.

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