Monsignor Timothy Michael Mullen, retired pastor of the Roman Catholic Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Mount Washington, died Monday at Stella Maris Hospice after a lengthy illness. He was 91.
Monsignor Mullen was appointed pastor of Sacred Heart in 1959 and retired in 1974. Three years later, he became a resident of Long Crandon at the Cardinal Shehan Center in Towson.
He became a monsignor in 1972.
He was known for his trademark greeting "Sure 'n' Himself" that reflected his pride in his Irish heritage.
"He was from the West of Ireland and quite a character," said the Rev. Michael J. Roach, administrator of St. Bartholomew Roman Catholic Church in Manchester and a longtime friend. "He was a big, beefy, red-faced Irishman with great jowls and was definitely a picture of an Irish cleric of the old school."
"He never lost that thick Irish brogue of his," said the Rev. Jack Callopy, director of pastoral counseling for retired senior clergy at the Shehan Center. "I always found him to be a great teller of Irish stories and, of course, he liked quoting Irish poetry. He was a very, very humorous man who typified the wonderful way of the Irish."
Morris Sapir, a longtime communicant at Sacred Heart, said, "He could be kind of gruff which was just a facade" but recalled him being "well-liked by the other parishioners there."
Monsignor W. Francis Malooly, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, wrote in a letter to fellow priests, "Monsignor Mullen was always very friendly and affable to all of us as one might imagine with his heritage and roots."
Monsignor Mullen was born in Ballaghadereen, County Mayo, Ireland. He was baptized, confirmed and attended the school at Kilmovee Parish there and graduated in 1923 from St. Nathy's High School.
He then came to the United States and entered Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, where he studied philosophy and theology. He was ordained in 1932 by Archbishop Michael J. Curley.
He was assigned to St. Joseph's Parish in Washington. In 1943, he was appointed assistant pastor at St. Michael Roman Catholic Church in Overlea, where he remained until 1951.
From 1951 to 1954, he was pastor of St. Mary Roman Catholic Church in Pylesville, then pastor of St. Cecilia Roman Catholic Church in West Baltimore until he took over Sacred Heart.
Monsignor Mullen returned to his homeland for visits every two years.
"He desperately loved Ireland and would visit there with frequency," said Father Callopy.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. today at the Stella Maris Chapel, 7300 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson.
He is survived by four nephews and six nieces.