Obituary for Fr. Felix McGrath, O.F.M.
Funeral services for Father Felix McGrath, O.F.M. will begin this Sunday evening, November 19, with a wake in the lower church starting at 4:00 PM. A Wake Service will be held at 7:30 PM. On Monday, November 20, a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in the upper church starting at 11:00 AM. Provincial Minister Fr. Kevin Mullen, O.F.M. will be the principal celebrant.
Fr. Felix died on Monday, November 13, at the Riverside Premier Rehabilitation Center here in New York City following complications from recent surgery. He was 87 years of age, and a priest for 56 years.
He was born on May 14, 1930 in the Bronx where he attended Sacred Heart School and Cardinal Hayes High School. After being received into the Franciscan Order in 1954, he made frst profession of vows a year later, then studied theology in Washington, DC where he was ordained to the priesthood on February 25, 1961. His classmates included Fathers Mychal Judge, Patrick Fitzgerald, and Cassian Miles, who also lived and ministered here at St. Francis of Assisi. Following ordination, Fr. Felix ministered at St. Anthony Shrine, Boston; Immaculate Conception Church, Atlanta; and Sacred Heart Church in Rochelle Park, NJ. Next he spent fve years preaching parish missions, and then moved to St. Patrick’s Church in Bufalo, NY where he served from 1970 to 1973.
After a year of ongoing studies in Washington, he embarked on his longest ministry here at St. Francis of Assisi where he served for 43 years and became a popular confessor and preacher, loved by many people who came to him for counseling and advice. In addition, he served for many years as a weekend assistant at a church in Somerville, NJ and as Spiritual Assistant to the Secular Franciscans of the St. Thomas More Fraternity here.
Although quiet and unassuming by nature, Fr. Felix touched many people in his years of ministry. He had great compassion for those who were suffering emotionally and spiritually, and would spend as much time with them as they needed, whether in the confessional or in the parlor. Hoping never to have to retire from ministry, Fr. Felix wanted to keep working right up to the moment the Lord would call him. His fnal illness got in the way, though, but he was ready to do what the Lord asked of him. As we hear in this week’s Gospel: “Well done, my good and faithful servant… Come, share your master’s joy,” we are grateful to God for Felix’s life among us and are confdent that he is, indeed, sharing the Master’s joy.