BRONX, N.Y. – Paul Sinnema, OFM, 86, a professed Franciscan friar for 63 years – 58 of them as an ordained priest – died on Aug. 4 in Calvary Hospital.
A wake was held on Aug. 9, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial celebrated by Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, at St. Anthony Church in Butler, New Jersey. He was buried at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Butler.
Paul was born on July 1, 1935 in Hawthorne, New Jersey, to James and Mabel (née Roughgarden) Sinnema. The Garden State native attended Sacred Heart Elementary School in Rochelle Park. After graduating from St. Joseph High School in Paterson, New Jersey, he attended St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, and then St. Joseph’s Seminary in Callicoon, New York.
Received into the Franciscan Order on July 14, 1957, Paul professed his first vows one year later, on July 15, 1958, he professed his first vows at St. Raphael’s Novitiate in Lafayette, New Jersey. He earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University in Western New York, studied philosophy at St. Francis College in Rye Beach, New Hampshire, and later studied theology at Holy Name College in Washington, D.C.
On Aug. 22, 1961, Paul professed his final vows before Donald Hoag, OFM, at Christ the King Seminary in Allegany, New York. On March 2, 1963, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Philip Hannon at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington.
Paul spent his religious life in education and pastoral service.
After a fifth year of study at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, Massachusetts, his first assignment was at Bishop Timon High School in Buffalo, New York, where he worked from 1964 to 1976. He was then stationed at Holy Name Parish in Garfield, New Jersey, from 1976 until 1989 — when he moved to a two-year assignment at Queen of Peace Parish in New Milford, New Jersey.
Paul was assigned in 1991 to St. Bonaventure Parish in Paterson, where he served until 1995, when he moved to his new assignment at the nearby St. Joseph Parish in East Rutherford, New Jersey, as parochial vicar and coordinator of the parish’s ministry to the homebound. In 2001, Paul was assigned to Assumption Parish in Wood-Ridge, New Jersey, where he served until his retirement in summer 2011. He spent the balance of his life at St. Anthony Friary in Butler until being transferred in July 2021 to St. Cabrini Nursing Home in Dobbs Ferry, New York.
Paul is survived by two cousins – Alice Becker of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, and Fred Roughgarden, Jr., of Hawthorne, New Jersey.
Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars – Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.
— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas
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