Robert O'Connell, 101

Pastor and chaplain

December 02, 2007

The Rev. Robert Joseph O'Connell, a Josephite priest who served two West Baltimore parishes, died Nov. 24 of complications from old age at St. Joseph Manor in North Baltimore. He was 101.

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., he entered the Josephite Order at its Epiphany Apostolic College in Newburgh, N.Y., in 1929. He was ordained a priest in 1941 and later returned to Epiphany as its novice master.

Father O'Connell served as pastor and associate pastor at parishes in Maryland, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida and New York.

He served as administrator and member of the Josephite Council in Baltimore and as delegate to the Josephite Chapter, the society's policy convention.

Father O'Connell served as an associate pastor at St. Pius V and St. Peter Claver Roman Catholic churches in West Baltimore from 1983 to 1986. In December 1984 while at St. Pius, he suffered a severe beating during a robbery at the parish.

He had been chaplain in 1968 at the old Southern Maryland General Hospital and at Villa Maria, the former retirement home of the School Sisters of Notre Dame at Notchcliff in Glen Arm.

After suffering a fall in 1996, he lived in retirement at St. Joseph Manor in Baltimore, where his 100th birthday party was held in September 2006. The event was attended by Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore.

At his death he was the longest-lived Josephite priest, having served for 66 years.

A Mass was offered Tuesday.

There are no immediate survivors.

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