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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Monthly Archives: October 2009

Father Joseph Hurley, a former provincial of the Baltimore province, died suddenly Oct. 30 at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Seaford, DE, where he was stationed. He was 81.

A viewing will be held Nov. 3 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Seaford, DE, from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. A memorial service will be held at 8 p.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated Nov. 4 at Our Lady of Lourdes at 11 a.m.

Another viewing will be held Nov. 5 at Mount St. Alphonsus Retreat Center in Esopus, NY, at 10 a.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. followed by burial in the Redemptorist cemetery.

Father Hurley was scheduled to attend the funeral of a fellow Redemptorist, Fr. Herman Brinkmann, who died the previous week.

One of his great interests was promoting small Christian communities — encouraging people to meet in small groups during the week to share their faith and prepare for weekly Sunday liturgies.

Father Hurley was born July 5, 1928, and first professed vows as a Redemptorist August 2, 1949. He was ordained a priest June 20, 1954.

Please pray for the repose of his soul and the comfort and peace of his family, parishioners, and fellow Redemptorists who mourn his loss.


Redemptorist Father Jim Szobonya will be featured on the Living Scripture Show Nov. 1 at 9:30 a.m. on Telecare TV, available to Cablevision and Verizon FiOS subscribers in the vicinity of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, NY.

The program will re-air on the following days:

Nov. 2 at 6 a.m.
Nov. 3 at 1 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Nov. 4 at 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 5 at 10:30 a.m.
Nov. 6 at 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 7 at 1 p.m.


Father Szobonya is associate pastor of St. Martin of Tours Parish in Bethpage, NY.

Redemptorist Worldwide Chapter | Rome, Italy
October 30, 2009

When I told my family and friends that I was going to Rome for a month, they told me how lucky I was. When I explained that it was not for a vacation but a meeting, they asked, “What could you talk about for a month?” Good question.

Since there is only a General Chapter every six years, there are a great many issues to be addressed. This is only the 24th General Chapter since the Redemptorists were founded in 1732.

Simply put, the first week of the Chapter is spent studying the progress and work of the Congregation over the last six years. The second week is spent seeing how we might better live our apostolic mission. During the third week, we elect the new Superior General and his Council to guide us over the next six years and in the fourth week we implement our decisions and decide what we want to say to our confreres back home.

A reality that is both a great blessing and a challenge is the great international make-up of the Redemptorists. We have 107 delegates here from 77 countries. There is a great richness to that, and the Congregation takes great joy in its missionary spirit.

However, the challenge of discussing complex topics in a variety of languages is very real. Every effort is made to allow confreres to speak and listen in a language in which they are comfortable. The official languages of the Chapter, for documents and so forth, are English, Spanish, and French.

At the same time, there are simultaneous translations in Polish, Portuguese, and Italian. It is amazing to me how many confreres speak more than one language. I envy them. This process of translation for clarity’s sake does slow the process down a bit, but is very important for the full participation of all confreres at the General Chapter.

The main topic we have been discussing this week is a form for reorganization of some of the structures of our Congregation. In addition to the present realities of our General Government, Provinces, Vice-Provinces, and Regions, a new reality of conferences would be added to our way of life.

A conference would be a level of governance that would exist between the General Government and the units of the Congregation. The conference would be based on geographic areas of the Redemptorists (i.e. North America, South America, and so on). The conference would have authority in some very limited areas, and would work primarily to help units of the Congregation focus on the mission, especially to the most abandoned.

Each conference would have a Coordinator who would have some limited authority in particular areas. Over the past 20 years or so in our Congregation, there has been a growing cohesion among the units of various continents. The conference model, while it does not change the provinces, does enable the Redemptorists to focus personnel and resources in particular areas that need the mission of the Congregation.

I now really appreciate the words “TGIF” since it means a free weekend.

Thank you for the prayers.


Father Pat Woods
Provincial Superior
Baltimore Province

Note: To view photos from Fr. Hurley’s funeral, click here.

Redemptorist Father Joseph Hurley, formerly Provincial Superior of the Baltimore Province, died unexpectedly on Friday, Oct. 30, at Our Lady of Lourdes Rectory in Seaford, DE. Father Hurley, who was 81, apparently died of a heart attack or stroke during the early morning hours.

Associate Pastor at the Seaford church from July of 2005, he was known especially for his gift of mentoring people seeking a deeper understanding of their faith and teaching those who sought to be received into the Church at the Easter Vigil. The last night of his life was devoted to this work.

A native of Fall River, MA, Father Hurley was born July 5, 1928, one of three sons of the Honorable Joseph L. Hurley, former Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts and later a Superior Court Justice, and Celeste Tracy Hurley. He graduated from Msgr. James Coyle High School and attended Harvard for one year before applying to the Redemptorists. He attended St. Mary’s Seminary in North East, PA, for two years and made his novitiate in Ilchester, MD. He made his first profession of vows in 1949 and his final profession three years later. In the meantime, he completed his theological studies at Mount St. Alphonsus in Esopus.

Father Hurley was ordained to the priesthood on June 20, 1954. He was sent then to continue his studies, earning a Master’s Degree in Sociology from The Catholic University of America. Later in his career, he studied at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. His first pastoral appointment, in 1957, was to St. Mary’s Church in Annapolis, where he was responsible for developing an out-mission, which grew to become St. Joseph Church in Odenton. In 1961, he began his work in teaching and formation, for two years at the novitiate in Ilchester, then two years at the seminary in North East, and, in 1965, as rector of the new college-level seminary in Suffield, CT. In 1972, he was chosen to serve at Holy Redeemer College in Washington, DC.

At this time too, Father Hurley, Father Paul Bryan and one of Father Hurley’s classmates who has since left the Congregation, Sal Umana, were asked to form a Renewal Team for the Province. Having worked closely with Father Hurley, Father Bryan found him to be “a humble introvert with a wonderful inner life … Joe imitated Christ in the depths of himself … he never was ambitious, but had that obedience and responsiveness of a true servant.” Mr. Umana, who kept in touch with Father Hurley, after posting news of his death on a web site for former Redemptorists, noted: “From the number of e-mails posted, Joe Hurley was a giant of a man who touched the lives of many people and very different generations. It seemed that no matter whom he met, he cast something of a spell on them. All agree that he was a holy man, a humble person, the essence of tranquility … You simply became a better person for having talked with Joe.”

In 1975, Father Provincial Superior Joseph Kerins chose Father Hurley to serve with him as Provincial Vicar of Baltimore, based at the Redemptorist Provincial Residence in Brooklyn. Father Hurley was elected Father Provincial in 1978, a position to which he was re-elected for a second three-year term. Father Lawrence Lover, Provincial Canon Lawyer, who also served in formation, parish and administrative roles, said: “Joe was wonderfully laid-back, unassuming, and very capable at any job he did.” He added that his confrere was well liked throughout the North American Provinces. “Joe was very quiet, but very sharp and when he made decisions it was because it was the right thing to do,” Father Lover said.

Relieved of the burden of administrative duty, Father Hurley spent 1984 serving at the Redemptorist retreat house in Tobyhanna, PA. The following year, he was asked to serve as the first Redemptorist pastor of St. Patrick Church in Enfield, CT. Father James Dowds, then newly ordained, said it was wonderful to have Father Hurley as his first pastor. “Joe was kind and gentle and steady and consistent,” he said. Father Dowds became active as a church prefect, in the educational ministry and the music ministry. “Joe encouraged each of us to go with our gifts, and he’d support you. He was slow to criticize and quick to praise. Joe had time for anybody and everybody and he never carried tales,” he said. What touched him most, though, was when he became a military chaplain and was sent to the Persian Gulf. “There was a lot of concern then about men being killed over there,” Father Dowds explained, “and Joe called my mother every week to ask how she was doing and listen to her concerns.”

Carol Waterman, who was named cantor for the parish, said she appreciated the support Father Hurley gave his parishioners. “He would sing parts of the Mass — and, you know, a lot of priests just don’t — and he was very participatory,” Mrs. Waterman said. “He gave people who worked with him the latitude to do what they could do; he was a quiet presence, very reverent, very pastoral.”

In 1993, the Province needed a Novice Master and Father Hurley agreed to undertake the formation of a new generation of students. He served first at Esopus and, when an interprovincial novitiate was opened in Glenview, IL, he traveled out there. Candidates he guided through their novitiates included not only those from the U.S., but also from Asia, South America and Europe.

After serving four three-year terms as Novice Master, he continued his lifelong habit of happily doing, as he would say, “whatever the Province needs me to do.” His final assignment was to Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Seaford, DE, a largely agricultural area that straddles the Mason/Dixon Line and lies, in part, in the Diocese of Delaware and, in part, in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Father James Small, a classmate of Father Hurley, said, “I hear he’s been making quite a career in working with the migrants in Seaford.” Father Small was never stationed with his classmate, having served for 30 years as a missionary in Brazil, but he said, “We all knew he was a gentle gentleman and I never heard anything negative said about him. He was a very kind man.”

Father John McKenna, pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes, speaking to a congregation stunned and saddened at the death of Father Hurley, reminded the people:

“He brought to us a lifetime of faith, a wealth of experience, his good and generous heart.

“I had the privilege of living in Redemptorist community life with Father Joe. Each morning we prayed together, we shared meals, car rides. He took on the important work of mentoring our seeking brothers and sisters on their journey into the faith. He prepared his classes with great diligence. But, in truth, he was the class, he was the living sermon of what a mature Christian Catholic lives like.”

Father Hurley is survived by his brothers John and William and Bill’s wife Mary; four nieces, Anna Celeste Grudinskas, Elizabeth Mary Iandoli, Mary Julia Hession, Josephine Madeline White, and their spouses and children.


Rev. Joseph T. Hurley, C.Ss.R.

  • Born: July 5, 1928
  • Professed: August 2, 1949
  • Ordained: June 6, 1954
  • Died: October 30, 2009



Wake Service
Nov. 3, 2009
Our Lady of Lourdes Church
Seaford, DE
2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.
Memorial service at 8 p.m. 

Funeral Mass
Nov. 4, 2009
Our Lady of Lourdes Church
11 a.m. 

Mount St. Alphonsus Retreat Center
Esopus, NY
10 a.m. 

Funeral Mass
Mount St. Alphonsus Retreat Center
11 a.m.
Followed by burial in Redemptorist cemetery

In time for the start of the new Church year, the new Living the Word: Scripture Reflections and Commentaries for Sundays and Holy Days includes insights and scholarship from Redemptorist Father Jim Wallace, a professor of homiletics at Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C.
Written in collaboration with Dennis D. Sylva, Living the Word provides the Scripture readings for Sunday and Holy Day liturgies for 2010. The book includes biblical commentary as well as questions for reflection for individuals or groups.
For more information or to order a copy of Living the Word, click here.