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Francis A. Gorman, OFM

Francis A. Gorman

1912 – 2004

Fr. Francis A. Gorman, OFM, was born on Dec. 3, 1912, in Plains, Pa. He attended St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., for two years.

In 1932, he was received into the Franciscan Order at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., and professed his first vows there the following year. Fr. Francis professed solemn vows at Holy Name College in 1936 and was ordained a priest in 1939 in the crypt of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. With 25 ordination classmates, he was a part of by far the largest class to be ordained in the history of Holy Name Province.

Fr. Francis was inspired by the Spirit to serve in the South at a time when it was considered “mission territory.” At the earnest request of Bishop William J. Hafey, Holy Name Province established two missions in the Diocese of Raleigh, N.C. — the first at Lenoir in 1933 and the other at Asheville in 1934. During the 1940s and ‘50s, the Province assumed many parishes in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida, and many friars served faithfully and zealously for 30 years or more.

As one of the early missionaries to the southern United States, Fr. Francis spent almost all of his years in the priesthood there. He was an assistant at the parish in Winston-Salem, N.C., but soon transferred to Anderson, S.C., to open the parish of St. Mary of the Angels for an African-American community.

During his tenure, the new church was erected. Fr. Francis remained there as pastor until 1954, when he went back to Winston-Salem, returning again to Anderson in the early 1960s. He was appointed pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Greenville, S.C., in 1964.

From 1970 to 1978, Fr. Francis served as the administrator of a parish in Moultrie, Ga. He returned once more to St. Mary’s in 1978, serving as both pastor and later guardian until 1994.

With a hearing impairment, Fr. Francis age began to catch up to him, and in 1994, Fr. Paul Williams, OFM, invited Fr. Francis to be a senior associate friar at St. Anthony Parish in Greenville. He lived and ministered with Fr. Paul until 2001, when he moved to St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla. Fr. Francis had served the Lord, Holy Name Province and his southern brothers and sisters well for more than half a century.

He was a mild-mannered friar whose life was marked by simplicity and without guile. His life and ministry enriched the lives of all who knew him. God was the center of his life, and
people were at the heart of his Franciscan ministry.

On Feb. 24, 2004, Fr. Francis moved to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J., where he died shortly thereafter on March 10. He was 91 years old, a professed friar for 70 years and a priest for 64 years.