Rev. Bartley J. MacPhaidin, C.S.C.

Fr. Bartley MacPhaidin (50 ordination)NOTRE DAME, Ind. Rev. Bartley J. MacPhaidin, C.S.C., 79, died on the Feast of St. Patrick, Thursday, March 17, 2016, at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Indiana.

He was born on Sept. 6, 1936, in Donegal, Ireland to James and Margaret (Duggan) MacPhaidin. He attended boarding school at Colaiste Einde (St. Enda’s) in Galway, then received his bachelor’s degree at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., in 1959. As a Religious of the Congregation of Holy Cross, he made First Vows on Aug. 16, 1957, professing Final Vows on Aug. 16, 1960, and he was ordained to the priesthood on February 17, 1963. After Ordination, Fr. MacPhaidin studied at the Gregorian Institute in Rome, Italy and in Copenhagen, Denmark. In 1966 he returned to the United States, where he would teach at Holy Cross Seminary, Easton, Mass., and serve as a Chaplain to the Brother Candidates at Moreau Hall until 1974. From 1975 to 1978, Fr. MacPhaidin taught at Stonehill College.

In 1978, Rev. Bartley J. MacPhaidin, C.S.C., became President of Stonehill College. After stepping down as President in 2000, Fr. MacPhaidin continued to serve Stonehill College as President Emeritus and Chancellor. He was awarded the medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice in 2002 by His Holiness, Benedict XVI, for service to the Church and the Pontiff.

Fr. MacPhaidin enjoyed a year-long assignment as Parochial Vicar of the Church of Divine Mercy in Cocoa Beach, Fla. before heading back to North Easton, Mass. in 2007. He moved to Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind., in 2010.

Preceding him in death are his parents, James and Margaret MacPhaidin.

He is survived by his brothers John of Donegal, Tadgh of Dublin, his sister Margaret of Donegal, and many extended family members including his nephew Joseph Barbuto of Yonkers, New York, and his nieces Claire McFadden of San Francisco and Marion McFadden of Leitrim, Ireland.

On March 23, 2016, at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, IN, there will be Visitation from 1:30 to 2:00 p.m. with a Wake service at 2:00 p.m.

The Visitation at Stonehill College where Fr. MacPhaidin, C.S.C., was President will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 in the Chapel of Mary, followed by a Vigil Service at 7:30 p.m. and concluding at 9:00 p.m.

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday (March 30, 2016) at the Holy Cross Church, 225 Purchase Street, Easton. Burial will be in the Holy Cross Cemetery on the College campus. Kane Funeral Home, Easton, is in charge of the arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made in support of the mission and ministries of the Congregation of Holy Cross via: United States Province of Priests and Brothers, Office of Development, 500 Washington Street, North Easton, MA 02356-1299 or online at

Wake Eulogyby Rev. James Lackenmier, C.S.C.
Mar. 29, 2016

We are here tonight to remember and celebrate the life of Father Bartley MacPhaidin. Just a few months ago we did the same for Father Bob Kruse, and tomorrow it will be for Father David Arthur, three looming figures in the history of Stonehill College and of Holy Cross in the East. They were giants, each in his own way. They left deep footprints for others to follow.

But tonight we think of Bartley.

Welcome to his family: Tadhg MacPhaidin, the youngest of six siblings, and his son, Daire; Sean McFadden, the son of Bartley’s brother, Hughie, who is deceased; Kathleen McFadden, the wife of his brother, John, who can’t travel, and three of their six children: Claire, a Stonehill alum, who lives in San Francisco, James McFadden from Ireland, and get this one his namesake, Bartley McFadden; Joe Barbuto from Yonkers is here, the son of Barley’s cousin, Bella and her husband Pat; and two other cousins from Yonkers, Joseph McFadden and Lawrence Hardin.

We welcome you to this chapel which Bartley named for Mary, Mother of the Church, to this beautiful campus, upon which his thumbprints can everywhere be found, to Stonehill College which he served well, and to this community of Holy Cross Religious, Stonehill colleagues and friends from many places and walks of life, whom he loved very much. Everyone here knew your brother and uncle and cousin in one season of his life or another. Each of us has been touched by him some way. All of us gather now to remember him, to celebrate his life, and to pray with you for his eternal rest.

What to say about Bartley MacPhaidin when there is so much to say?

Let’s start with the obvious: Bartley and Stonehill College. Bartley arrived at Stonehill at the age of eighteen in 1954. He was boyish and slender. None of us remembers him that way. Stonehill was in its seventh year. Stonehill had three buildings, about 400 students, and fewer than a dozen faculty members, most of them Holy Cross priests, many of them doubling as administrators. In 1954, Stonehill was a humble place. None of us would use that descriptor today.

Bartley came to Stonehill from a devout Catholic family in Donegal. He was a good student as a boy, and like many of his generation he wanted to come to the States to study for the priesthood. He thought of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Hollywood where he would meet the stars. Bartley always thought big! But then he met Father Pat Peyton the Rosary Priest, a Holy Cross priest, the founder of Family Theater Productions in Hollywood. Father Peyton did know the stars! Father Peyton pointed him to Stonehill, perhaps with the hope that Bartley would eventually get to Hollywood as a Holy Cross priest.

At Stonehill he was, again, an exemplary student. After graduating with high honors, Bartley studied theology in Rome and was ordained in 1963. This was the exciting time of the Second Vatican Council. To our house in Rome came all the leading theologians of the time, expert advisors to the Council Fathers. We heard them speak about the great theological themes of the day, and we witnessed a transformation in the Church’s self-understanding. Bartley forgot Hollywood. His interests turned to theology.

After earning his Licentiate from the Gregorian University, he went to Copenhagen where he learned Danish in order to read Kierkegaard. I don’t know how much Kierkegaard he read in the original, but I was with him for a few days in Copenhagen, and he certainly had no trouble reading the menu.

With his class work finished in Copenhagen, and his dissertation begun, he came to Stonehill in 1966, and thus began his thirty-four year career at Stonehill as teacher, counselor to students, founder of the Institute for Justice and Peace, preacher, writer, and eventually president.

Like many young priests, he threw himself into the debates of the late 60’s and early 70’s. He got to know his students. He identified with their enthusiasm and idealism. He wrote articles for the Summit. His dissertation, however, gathered dust. In 1975 the Academic Deanship opened. Bartley applied. But he didn’t make the cut, because he had no terminal degree. Bartley did what Bartley would do. He took a sabbatical, returned to the Gregorian University, completed his degree in record time, and became Stonehill’s eighth president in 1978.

We can all summarize Stonehill’s transformation over the next twenty-two years: many new buildings, including this chapel, the Martin Institute, the MacPhaidin Library, the Roche Commons, and the Sally Blair Ames Sports Complex; the cultivation of this naturally beautiful campus; the expansion of academic programs and the recruitment of a highly credentialed and multi-talented faculty; an increasingly large proportion of students going abroad; a progressively more talented and regionally diverse student body; a plenitude of student life programs and varsity sports; an endowment that grew from less than $3M in 1978 to nearly $100M when he left office; a stronger and more engaged Board of Trustees; institutional excellence recognized and highly ranked by national publications and educational organizations.

Bartley didn’t do this alone, of course. What defines a college is teaching and learning, which is the province of Stonehill’s faculty. There is teaching and learning outside the classroom, too, which is the province of student life and residence life staff, of campus ministers and counselors, and coaches. Bartley presided, but the faculty and the professional staff delivered the program.

Bartley was blessed with extraordinary senior administrators. Father Bob Kruse whom we lost only a few months ago and Ed Casieri still very much with us were with him from the beginning and all through his twenty-two years. Fran Dillon and Fred Petit joined the team not much later, and there were other Division heads over the years who contributed to the success of the MacPhaidin administration. Bartley was in charge. He knew what was going on. He had “his nose in” and sometimes “his fingers,” too. Bartley presided, but his team oversaw the programs and managed the temporalities.

So Bartley was free to do what Bartley liked to do: to roam, and he was good at it. He was Stonehill’s face to the world. He threw himself into the project of making Stonehill known. He spoke for Stonehill’s interests at the State House in Boston and in Teddy Kennedy’s office in Washington. He was active in the Higher Education Community in Massachusetts and represented Stonehill in the national associations of Independent Colleges and Universities, and Catholic Colleges and Universities. He sat on local and regional boards and was active in the civic community.

Bartley’s charm was legendary and so was his sense of humor. He was fun to be with, and everyone who got to know him got to know Stonehill.

Need I say that Bartley was Irish? He was proud of his Irish heritage, and he managed to die on St. Patrick’s Day. It is often noted that he spoke six languages. He would note that his first language was Gaelic; indeed, he preferred to call it “Irish.” He was deeply committed to Irish American associations and activities. He was involved in the Boston Irish Cultural Center, the American Ireland Fund, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. He attended their events in Boston and New York and elsewhere. He brought the Irish festival and tens of thousands of festival goers to the Stonehill campus every summer for many years. There were billboards all over the region inviting anyone and everyone to the Stonehill Campus for the Irish Festival, and they came. He established the Irish Studies Program and facilitated study abroad in Ireland very early on. Bartley became an American citizen, but only after many years in the States, and only knowing that he could claim dual citizenship and still be an Irishman. I used to tell him that the real reason he became a US citizen was so that he could vote for Ronald Reagan.

Bartley was proud of his Irish family. He followed the comings and goings of his brothers and his sister and his cousins; the births of nieces and nephews. He was particularly close to his cousin Bella and her husband Pat Barbuto, Joseph’s parents, both gone now. They lived in Yonkers, which became his second home. Bartley’s nephew, Joseph, and his nieces, Claire and Marion, attended Stonehill. He loved having them near at his beck and call, naturally and he was proud of their success. And he was devoted to his mother, Margaret, who he said was the greatest influence on his life. After her death in 1997 he wrote about her in a book entitled, “Coming Safely Home: Habits of a Mother’s Heart.” In an interview with the “Providence Sunday Journal” after her death, Bartley is quoted as saying, “Coming safely home that was a big thing for her and could be easily described as the metaphor by which she viewed the ways that we exist in this world. We were all included in this embrace of hers, three generations of us. While any one of us was in the peril of a journey, Mother became the restless one who prayed for our guidance.”

Bartley had those wonderful Irish traits: open door hospitality, open handed generosity, a sometimes salty sense of humor, and a wry wit.

Bartley was a priest to the core of his being he was a priest. He loved the Church’s liturgy and rituals. I don’t mean to say by that that he always observed the rules or even that he knew them. But he knew the mystery of grace that flows through the Church’s Sacraments. Bartley attended and conducted countless baptisms, weddings, wakes and funerals and not just those of well placed college friends, but those of the groundskeepers and housekeepers of Stonehill’s staff. He kept an alb and stole on a hangar against the backseat window of his car, as if he were a parish priest on call. He knew the comfort that could come from a simple visit from a priest in a time of trouble or of loss.

Bartley was a very kind man. Although he loved meeting important people and representing Stonehill in fancy places, he always had time for anyone who approached him. He never lost the common touch. He had four honorary degrees, a papal award, and many recognitions. He had pictures of himself with John Paul II, Mother Teresa, Ronald Reagan, Tip O’Neil, Teddy Kennedy, and many others. But he never lost the common touch. He was “Bartley” or “Father Bart” to everyone.

We have to acknowledge that Bartley’s last years were not his best years. After he left the president’s office, he had a travel sabbatical that took him to many places that he wanted to see, and during which he wrote his tribute to his mother. He came back to a role at Stonehill that didn’t work out. And after Stonehill he never found something to engage his talents and his gifts. Then his health failed and even with wonderful skilled care at Holy Cross House at Notre Dame he was not happy.

We have a little book in Holy Cross, eight brief chapters. It is called the “Constitutions.” It has a moving last chapter entitled, “The Cross, Our Hope.”

Here is a brief passage: “Whether it be unfair treatment, fatigue or frustration at work, a lapse of health, tasks beyond talents, seasons of loneliness, bleakness in prayer, the aloofness of friends; or whether it be the sadness of our having inflicted any of this on others there will be dying to do on our way to the Father.”

The Constitution continues: “But we do not grieve as men without hope … There is no failure the Lord’s love cannot reverse, no humiliation he cannot exchange for blessing, no anger he cannot dissolve, no routine he cannot transfigure. All is swallowed up in victory. He has nothing but gifts to offer. It remains only for us to find how even the cross can be borne as a gift.”

Bartley knew this Constitution well. No doubt he read it many times. He heard it proclaimed countless times over the years, and he knew that its challenging message was for everyone it was for him. This theme is not particular to Holy Cross, “conformity to Christ crucified.” It’s all through the western spiritual tradition, which he knew well. And it’s a Pauline theme. “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Paul wrote to the Galatians. Bartley knew this. I’m confident that it took root in his heart these last years.

My last meeting with Bartley was a brief one, but an intimate one. It was some months ago in the Holy Cross House chapel at Notre Dame. The occasion was the last half-hour of Father Bart Salter’s wake, about 8:30 in the evening. Father Salter had spent only a short time at Holy Cross House before he died, and he was not well known at Notre Dame. So his wake was not a crowded, bustling event like this one. At that hour there were only a few people around. Bartley was sitting there, keeping watch. I sat down next to him and we talked about Bart’s Salter’s life. Bartley was as full of insight and compassion as he had ever been.

And so tonight we remember the slender boyish teenager who came to America to be a priest. We celebrate the gifted teacher and the visionary leader of Stonehill College. We remember his Irish good nature and his devotion to his family. We celebrate the faithful priest who baptized and preached and buried. We remember and we celebrate the charming, generous, kind friend we all knew him to be.

Earlier we heard these words from St. John’s Gospel: “This is the will of the one who sent me that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day.”

Jesus did not lose Bartley. Throughout his long Catholic life, though six decades as a Holy Cross Religious, through more than fifty years as a priest, Bartley saw Jesus and believed in Him. He will be raised up on the last day into eternal life, as Jesus promised.

God bless you, Bartley.

Funeral Homilyby Rev. ThomasGariepy, C.S.C.
Mar. 30, 2016

Come to me, all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.
Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart,
and you will find rest for souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.
(Mt. 12:28-30)

This gospel reading is often proclaimed at funerals. It is usually taken to mean that the one who lived, labored, and had burdens now has gone to the Lord and has found rest. It is not a wrong reading, but an incomplete one. Could it be that our Lord meant it only for end-of-life situations? Given its place in Matthew’s gospel, the answer is “no.” Jesus had been travelling through Galilee, teaching, and curing the sick, yet he marveled at the lack of faith among the people he has encountered. But some, those whom he called “children” heard and understood. Then follows the universal call, “Come to me”

But again, it must be asked, is that all there is to this reading? Christ invites us unto himself, and each of us at some time in our lives has believed that these words were directly addressed to him or to her. But that remains a passive reading. “Here, Jesus,” we say. “Catch!” Take my burdens and I’ll be fine. Nothing more for me to do!

All of us, however, share in the priesthood of Jesus that was conferred on us in our Baptism that was renewed on Easter Sunday. Or those, who like Fr. Bartley, were ordained priests to serve the People of God, the Body of Christall of us have been called to become other Christs in this world. We must learn to invite “Come unto me” and learn what it entails.

You and I can say “Come to me,” but it gets harder to say “Take my yoke,” or “Accept my burden.” No heart finds rest in us. Even though we cannot offer exactly what Christ offered, we are not empty handed or empty hearted. We can show the world at least a hint of what it means to come to Christ.

I would say that Bartley knew this and did this. Fr. Lackenmier spoke last night about his charm. No one worked a room as did Bartley. He mingled with patriarchs, popes, and presidents, but was as equally at ease among people who served or who were on the margins. But did they respond to him simply because he was so charming? Bartley never forgot that he was a priest. These encounters could be seen as encounters of and with our Lord: welcoming a stranger, encouraging the weary, or challenging the complacent. Bartley’s open-handed generosity signaled the Lord’s generosity. Or his love of the written and spoken word that opened beauty to those who read them or heard them. He was in his own artless way fulfilling the gospel.

When Jesus said “Come unto me,” it was not to find an easier life. Like all of the Gospel, when we accept the call of the Lord it becomes our call to evangelize. When you come unto Jesus, you accept his yoke and his burden. They may be light, but they are real. To evangelize in the realities of this world at this time can clearly mark one to be a fool. And it is what we are nonetheless called to do. Bartley, who was nourished by the faith he received from his parents and from all of his family, knew this and did this. If we would honor Bartley, can we learn to evangelize, to say as the Lord said, “Come unto me”? Can we learn to offer the strength, the consolation, and the mercy of God?

We acknowledge that Bartley’s last years were very difficult and the burden was heavy. He found it hard to manage his illnesses and his affairs; he found it even harder to accept management of those illnesses and affairs from those who aimed to heal and help. It was a painful mystery for us to see himhe who had invited so many to know the Lord’s mercy, find it hard to accept it from those people who wanted to offer the same to him.

Despite this dark night of the soul, Bartley knew of God’s love. In August 1969, he gave an eight-day retreat for seminarians entering our former novitiate in Bennington, Vermont. At one of his conferences, he gave each of them a hazelnut. He then read from a vision of the fourteenth-century English mystic, Julian of Norwich:

“Also in this he showed me a little thing, the quantity of a hazel nut, in the palm of my hand; and it was a round as a ball. I looked thereupon with eye of my understanding, and thought: What may this be? And it was answered generally thus: It is all that is made. I marveled how it might last, for I thought it might suddenly have fallen to naught for littleness. And I was answered in my understanding: It lasts, and ever shall last for that God loves it. And so All-thing has the being by the love of God.

“It needeth us to have knowing of the littleness of creatures and to hold as nothing all-thing that is made, for to love and have God that is unmade. For this is the cause why we be not all in the ease of heart and soul: that we seek here rest in those things that are so little, wherein is no rest, and know not our God that is All-mighty, All-wise, All-good. For he is the very rest. God willeth to be known, and it pleases Him that we rest in him, for all that is beneath him sufficeth not us. And this is the cause why that no soul is rested till it is made nought as to all things that are made. When it is willingly made nought, for love, to love him that is all, then is it able to receive spiritual rest.”

God’s rest. Come unto me, receive the yoke and burden, and then enter into the rest of the Lord. The Lord’s rest, the Great Sabbath, is the goal of God’s people. Easter is called the great Sabbath. And now Bartley has found rest on the Lord’s Sabbath day that lasts for eternity.

Bartley concluded the retreat with the prayer that concluded Julian’s vision:

O God of goodness, give me thyself; for thou are enough to me, and I may nothing ask that is less that may be full worship to thee; and if I ask of anything that is less, ever I wantfor only in thee have I all.

Safely home.

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