RINGWOOD, N.J. — A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated in honor of Joseph Kiernan, OFM, last month. The 75-year-old friar died Dec. 19 at Holy Name Friary. He was a professed Franciscan for 46 years and a priest for 42.
Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, celebrated the Dec. 23 Mass at the friary’s Cortona Chapel. Visitation and a prayer service were held Dec. 22 at the chapel. Burial followed at God’s Acre Cemetery in Ringwood.
Joseph was born March 19, 1936, in Bronx, N.Y., to the late Peter and Beatrice Kiernan. A graduate of All Hallows Institute in the Bronx, he received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Manhattan College in 1959. After college, he served in the United States Navy.
Joseph attended St. Joseph Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., for one year before being received into the Order of Friars Minor in July 1964, professing first vows the following year. In 1968, he professed final vows. Joseph was ordained a priest in September 1969.
He received a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology, a master’s degree and a doctorate in sacred theology, with a specialty in moral theology, from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Following his ordination, Joseph became a faculty member at the Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C., from 1971 to 1976. He then served as chaplain at St. Raphael Hospital in New Haven, Conn., for one year, before serving as a member of the Province’s novitiate formation team in Brookline, Mass., from 1977 to 1979.
From 1979 to 1982, he served as the justice and peace liaison for Global Education Associates of East Orange, N.J, while assisting at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in West Milford, N.J. From 1982 to 1985, he was the full-time secretary of the Province’s justice and peace committee in Takoma Park, Md.
In March 1985, Joseph was named parochial vicar of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Apopka, Fla., later serving as pastor from February 1989 to July 1996. He then served as parochial vicar at St. Francis Parish in Triangle, Va., until ill health forced him to retire from active ministry there in 1997.
In fall 2000, Joseph moved to St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla., but due to growing health concerns, he moved to Holy Name Friary, the Province’s skilled nursing facility, in July 2002.
Joseph is predeceased by his brothers Walter and Peter. He is survived by his sister, Eileen, of North Caldwell, N.J., sister-in-law Marion Kiernan of Montclair, N.J., and several nieces and nephews.
Memorial contributions may be made to: The Franciscans — St. Anthony’s Guild, 4 Jersey Street, East Rutherford NJ 07073-1012.
— Compiled by Theresa Bartha and Dominic Monti, OFM