Rev. Patrick C. Walsh, C.S.C.

fr._patrick_walsh_obit_pixClick hereto read the Wake Eulogy and the Funeral Homily.

Rev. Patrick Coleman Walsh, C.S.C., 83, died Friday evening (Dec. 13, 2013) at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind.

The Visitation is 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 19, 2013) at the Chapel of Mary on the campus of Stonehill College (Easton, Mass.). The Wake service will be held at 7:30 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be 10 a.m. Friday (Dec. 20, 2013) at the Chapel of Mary with committal immediately following at the Holy Cross community cemetery on Stonehill’s campus.

Fr. Walsh was born on March 13, 1930, in Portland, Maine, to Patrick and Mary (Coyne) Walsh, the ninth of 10 children. He attended Cheverus Jesuit High School in Portland. After his sophomore year, he decided to enter the Congregation of Holy Cross. Walsh’s first 34 years with Holy Cross were as a brother. At age 16, Walsh attended the Postulate at Valatie, N.Y., and then St. Joseph’s Novitiate, Rolling Prairie, Ind. He was received into the Congregation on Aug. 15, 1947; professed First Vows on Aug. 16, 1948; and made his Final Vows on Aug. 16, 1952. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in that same year.

Before making his Final Vows, Walsh taught at Notre Dame High School in West Haven, Conn., in 1951 for one year. He then went on to teach and work in administration at the Vincentian Institute in Albany, N.Y., for 10 years. While at Vincentian he also worked on his master’s degree at Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y., from 1958 to 1962. After receiving his degree, Walsh went to Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick, R.I., where he taught and also served as assistant principal and director of studies; he served there until 1967. Walsh then returned to Notre Dame High School, West Haven, Conn., as principal and worked there from 1967 to 1975. In 1975, he received a certificate of advanced study from Fairfield University, Fairfield, Conn. Walsh went to Rome in 1976 to serve as assistant headmaster at Notre Dame International School for three years.

In 1979, he traveled to Toronto to begin theology studies for the priesthood with Holy Cross’ English Canadian Province; he attended The University of St. Michael College for three years. Fr. Walsh transferred to the English Canadian Province in 1980 and was ordained to the priesthood on June 27, 1981. He was assigned as pastor of St. Ann Parish in Toronto from 1982 to 1985. From 1985 to 1986, he taught at Cathedral Boys High School, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. In 1986, Fr. Walsh returned to the United States to work as a guidance counselor at Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, Md. In 1993, Fr. Walsh became the vicar at Saint Francis de Sales Parish in Bennington, Vt. He helped with the parish merger of Sacred Heart, in North Bennington, and Saint Francis de Sales in 1995 before being assigned to Most Holy Trinity Parish in Saco, Maine. Fr. Walsh then transferred from the English Canadian Province to the Eastern Province of Priests and Brothers in 1995. In 2008, Fr. Walsh returned to Vermont to serve as the administrator of St. John the Baptist Parish in North Bennington. Fr. Walsh moved to the Holy Cross Community at North Dartmouth, Mass., in 2011, and later moved to Holy Cross House in 2012.

Fr. Walsh’s parents are deceased. He is survived by his brother John (Rosaria) of Portland and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions in support of the mission and ministries of the Congregation of Holy Cross can be made to: United States Province of Priests and Brothers, Office of Development, P.O. Box 765, Notre Dame, IN 46556-0765 or online

Wake Eulogy by Br. Jim Branigan, C.S.C.
Dec. 19, 2013

Patrick Walsh, you certainly rest in the loving arms of our God, given the life you have lived. No doubt in my mind. Patrick, you know my thinking of you; you can’t help but bring me to words about you and the gift you were to our educational ministry.

Our founder, Basil Moreau, gave us the core from which all our educational outreach should grow from Moreau’s words “To be true to our calling as complete Holy Cross educators, we cannot excuse ourselves from the matters of the heart. The heart does not know the Pythagorean Theorem, the parts of speech or plant phyla. The heart knows love and its loss, craves compassion and responds to hospitality. The heart struggles with ambiguity, weighs choices and considers consequences. The heart, given space, learns to risk once it finds courage and hope. In the stillness of listening, it is the heart that hears the gentle breeze. To what end would it serve students to know how to read, write, calculate and draw or possess some notions of history, geography, physics and chemistry if they are ignorant of their duties to God, to themselves and to society, or if, while knowing them, they did not conform their conduct to their knowledge? Hurry then; take up the work of Resurrection, never forgetting that the special end of your institute is, before all, to sanctify youth.”

Words, words, words not for Patrick.

Patrick walked the talk.

A number of years ago, our Notre Dame High School in West Haven recognized Patrick with our highest honor: Patrick became and will always be a Notre Dame Knight of Honor.

Our community loved Patrick. When I told members of our faculty who knew Patrick from his days with us of his passing, just about every one of them had a tear move to their eyes. As I informed our elder brothers in West Haven the same. Patrick served our community as its fifth principal from 1967 to 1974. The Notre Dame he left in 1952 after one year as a beginning English teacher was vastly different from the one he returned to lead. In 1967, Notre Dame had 60 teachers, composed evenly of brothers and lay collaborators and the student population was over 1,100.

Patrick as principal in the late ’60s and early ’70s led our community through one of the most tumultuous times in United States history. I arrrived on scene in ’69 from just graduating from Stonehill. Tumultuous, for sure great challenges dealing with youth. I was one of them. Just think: a young brother sneaking up the hill of the old Stonehill Administration Building one evening with his buddies, pulling down the American flag and putting it back up upside down. Patrick certainly had his hands full, not only with student crazies, but with many young brothers/teachers who would be as crazed.

Patrick’s ways were the ways of Moreau. No doubt in my mind, nor in my heart, our school life thrived during Patrick’s time. Patrick was always in a “hurry” every day energized to be there for all of us with his presence and positive support always.

There are many men now leading successful lives that owe a debt of gratitude to Patrick. I, literally, would not be standing here before you if not for Patrick. He was my principal, for sure, but he was better my brother, my friend always ready to be there for me and for so many others. We brothers of Notre Dame will never forget Patrick and how he formed us to be Men of Moreau.

Patrick’s ways: “Hey, Jim: How about we go down to Philysis on Savin Rock for a bite to eat?”

“But we just had dinner an hour ago.”

“Come on; you love those friend onion rings.”


As the fries are heading for my mouth “Now, Jim, I’ve got something to ask of you chair the religion department!”

Could I say no with the fries in front of me? He put his hand out to shake mine with a big smile on his face.

Patrick, a man who had a great heart, taught me and so many others the way and strengthened us to follow.

Notre Dame today is a clear reflection of Patrick Walsh. Some of the “core group” of today’s administration and faculty were hired during his tenure. It is a great community rooted in the heart.

Thank you, Patrick, for your great heart. You will never be forgotten.

Br. Jim Branigan, C.S.C., is the president of Notre Dame High School, West Haven, Conn.

Funeral Homily by Rev. James Doherty, C.S.C.
Dec. 20, 2013

Pat Walsh, C.S.C., was one of the few members of the Congregation of Holy Cross who was both a brother and a priest. He was not well known in the United States Province. He began living and ministering with us in 1993 in Bennington, Vt. He spent 12 years in Saco, Maine. Then he went back to North Bennington in 2007. Bennington and Saco were on the margins of the old Eastern Province and living there did not provide Pat with much opportunity to know the rest of us. I was one of the lucky ones who did get to know him.

I made my transition from ministry in higher education to parishes in 1998. By that time, Pat had several years’ experience working in parishes. Logically, one would think that he would be the pastor and he would break me into this new ministry. But provincial administrations are not always logical. They appointed me as the pastor of Most Holy Trinity Parish in Saco and Pat remained as parochial vicar, but generously became my mentor.

During the first few months I was there, I would come to him with all sorts of questions: “How you do you do a funeral in this unusual worship space?” “How do you do a Baptism during Mass?” “What about blessing of pets?” “Tell me about parish councils and finance commissions.”

He usually didn’t answer these questions immediately. “Let me get back to you,” he would say.

Then he would go off and construct a lesson plan and come back and teach me in a way in which It was easy to learn. All that experience he had teaching in the classroom as a Holy Cross brother benefitted me. Not only me, but countless others.

Last Saturday night, there was a threat of a snow storm in this part of the country. Around here there were several inches before it turned to rain. Saco had the same prediction, but they ended up with 16 inches. Many people heeded the weather forecasters’ warnings to avoid dealing with the snow. They came to the 4 p.m. Mass on Saturday. Most Holy Trinity is a church that seats 450, including the choir. Last Saturday, there were 550 people there. It was packed. When they announced the news of Fr. Pat’s death, an audible groan went through the assembly. Pat had been in touch with some parishioners only weeks before. His voice had sounded strong over the phone. How could things turn around so quickly?

Lots of folks in that assembly had been affected by his ministry. He had presided over their chaotic Christmas Eve Mass for a dozen years. He had trained troops of altar servers. He had counseled lots of people with troubled marriages and personal difficulties. He visited the sick and took special care with those who were dying. He was a good preacher and worked hard on developing homilies.

Living and ministering in Maine also provided him an opportunity to spend more time with his family from Portland. His brother, John here with us today would frequently drive to Saco and go with Pat to Wormwoods for lunch. He enjoyed visint with his sister, Barbara, and her children. He even got Downeast a few times to visit the children of his other siblings.

Last Saturday afternoon after the news settled in of Pat’s death, that assembly at Most Holy Trinity went on to celebrate the Eucharist for the Third Sunday of Advent. They did what they do every week: They opened the Scriptures and broke the Bread, as did those disciples we heard about in today’s Gospel. When Pat did a funeral, he would frequently use that passage as the Gospel. As someone who taught English, he appreciated St. Luke’s art of telling a story. He also knew the ability that this story had to convey to those who were mourning: the subtle power of the Resurrection.

The hope of the Resurrection does not come crashing into our lives in a way that will scare the daylights out of us. God is far too respectful of us human beings to do that. Rather, He engages us in a conversation. He listens carefully. He asks engaging questions: What sorts of things? He listens some more and felt their loss. But then, He busts on them for being so foolish so as not to understand. Then He interprets the Scriptures for them. Only when they are hooked and begging for more does He reveal Himself. He doesn’t do it with words; He simply breaks Bread. No one could mistake what the action meant. It meant not only that Jesus had risen from the dead, but that He had come back to His disciples to show them the way through death to eternal life. That simple action of breaking the Bread filled those disciples with such hope that they went running 8 miles back to Jerusalem.

Today we feel that same loss that the disciples felt that Easter afternoon. We will miss Pat. But we will also break the Bread, be nourished and energized by it. For the Eucharist fills us with hope of the Resurrection to eternal life that Pat now enjoys in its fullest. It is that hope of Resurrection to eternal life that energized Pat for over 60 years of ministry. It is the energy of that hope that he would want all of us to share in today.

Rev. James Doherty, C.S.C., is pastor of St. Mary’s Parish, Taunton, Mass.

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