RINGWOOD, N.J. — Peter Sheridan, OFM, died Nov. 3 at Holy Name Friary. The 97-year-old was the senior friar by religious profession of Holy Name Province and well-known as novice master for nearly a decade during the 1950s and ‘60s.
He had celebrated 75 years as a Franciscan earlier this year and was a priest for 59 years.
Peter was born Sept. 21, 1913, in Newark, N.J., to Charles and Julia Sheridan. He attended St. Antoninus Elementary School in Newark, and Seton Hall Preparatory School in South Orange, N.J., graduating in 1931. After attending Seton Hall College for two years, he enrolled at St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y., in 1933.
Peter was received into the Order of Friars Minor at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., on Aug. 29, 1934, and professed first vows there Aug. 31, 1935, before Mathias Faust, OFM.
He studied philosophy at St. Stephen Friary in Croghan, N.Y., and St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J., receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1938 from St. Bonaventure University. He went on to study theology at Holy Name College, Washington, D.C., where he professed final vows Sept. 17, 1938, before Mathias.
On June 9, 1941, Peter was ordained a priest by Bishop Joseph Corrigan, rector of the Catholic University of America, at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.
Peter’s first assignment was assistant pastor at St. Francis Church in Lenoir, N.C. The parish included eight mountain counties, on a 100-mile loop. Peter would travel between the communities, stopping to celebrated Masses in homes. In 1949, he became the pastor.
In 1952, he was named pastor of St. Augustine Church in Thomasville, Ga., where he remained for three years. The Province opened a new novitiate house? in 1955 at St. Raphael Friary in Lafayette, N.J., and Peter was named director of novices, serving in that role for nine years.
From 1964 until 1967, he served as Provincial Councilor, residing initially at St. Francis Friary, New York. Peter was chaplain to the New Jersey State Hospital in Greystone Park, N.J., from 1966 to 1970.
In 1970, he returned to the South, serving as pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in Americus, Ga., until 1976. Peter was then named spiritual assistant to the Secular Franciscans of the Mid-South Region, residing at Holy Name College. He also served as the Province’s spiritual assistant of the Secular Franciscan Order from 1978 to 1984.
For the next three years, he was parochial vicar at St. Camillus Parish, Silver Spring, Md., while continuing as spiritual assistant for the Mid-South. After serving as parochial vicar in Americus, for a year, he returned in 1988 to Holy Name College, now located in Silver Spring.
Although retiring from full-time ministerial responsibilities, Peter continued to serve as spiritual assistant to several Secular Franciscan fraternities in the Washington area until 1999. In July 2006, he transferred to Holy Name Friary for health reasons.
A Wake Service was held Nov. 5 at the Cortona Chapel of Holy Name Friary, presided by guardian and director A. Francis Soucy, OFM.
The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated the following morning at St. Anthony Church, in Butler, N.J. Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, was principal celebrant and homilist. Burial followed at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Butler.
Peter is survived by his sister-in-law, Mrs. Margaret Sheridan, as well as several nieces and nephews. Condolences may be sent to his niece, Mrs. Ann O’Hanlon, 2 Nottingham Court, Morristown, NJ, 07960.
Memorial contributions can be made to: The Franciscans — St. Anthony’s Guild, 4 Jersey Street, East Rutherford NJ 07073-1012.