Biographies

Father Francis J. Caffrey, MM

Born: July 17, 1895
Ordained: June 15, 1924
Died: December 14, 1979

Father Francis Joseph Caffrey died on Friday morning, December 14, 1979. Having mentioned that he was about to die that morning, and having received the Last Anointing from Father Tom McDermott and then his final Communion from Father Tom Wilcox, Frank simply stopped breathing in great peace.

Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts on July 17, 1895, Frank was one of six children of Julia McDonald and Andrew Caffrey. He attended both of Lawrence’s public schools and St. Mary’s Parochial School. After graduating from St. John’s Prep, he worked as a clerk in a freight office before entering Boston College where he was graduated in 1917. Frank then served time with the Armed Forces in France before joining Maryknoll in 1919.

Ordained June 15, 1924, Frank was assigned to development work in Seattle. In 1928 he served the Los Angeles Japanese Mission. In 1929 he began an eleven-year assignment to the San Juan Bautista Mission in California. From 1940 Frank’s assignments took him to Los Angeles, Hawaii, St. Louis, the Venard and Maryknoll, New York. While working in California he began the production of a radio series of interviews with many movie and television stars on the influence of religion in their lives and was well known for promoting decent literature and for the distribution of a popular poem entitled “An Open Letter to Man”, concerning the dignity of women. In 1978 Frank’s efforts were noted in The Congressional Record by Representative Robert Dornan of California.

Frank was remarkable throughout his life in fostering a great good will toward Maryknoll. Pastorally, he was deeply involved in the care for the sick, especially priests who were ill.

On Monday, December 17th, there was a wake service at 7:35 P.M., led by Father Tom McDermott. The Mass of the Resurrection was held on Tuesday, the 18th, at 11:45 A.M. and burial followed in the Maryknoll Cemetery. Bishop John W. Comber was the Principal Celebrant and Father Robert E. Sheridan the Homilist.