Father William P. Heffernan, MM
Born: April 6, 1929
Ordained: June 11, 1955
Died: October 15, 2005
Father William P. Heffeman died at Phelps Memorial Hospital, Sleepy Hollow, New York on October 15, 2005. He was 76 years old and a Maryknoll priest for 50 years.
William Pierce Heffernan, one of three children of James and Florence Curtin Heffernan, was born April 6, 1929, in Lynn, Massachusetts. He attended public schools and St. Joseph’s grade school in Lynn and graduated from St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Massachusetts in 1946, before entering Maryknoll in September of that same year. He holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from Maryknoll.
After ordination on June 11, 1955, Father Heffernan was assigned to Rome for advanced studies, earning a Doctorate in Canon Law and a Licentiate in Theology. During this time of study, from 1956 to 1959, he was secretary to Cardinal Fumasoni Biondi, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. He was assigned to the faculty of Maryknoll Seminary, New York, in 1959 and appointed Director of the Education Department in 1971. In 1973 he was appointed Center Coordinator and in 1974 was named President of the Maryknoll Major Seminary.
Father Heffernan was assigned to the Indonesia Unit in 1976, where he served first as assistant in St. Francis of Assisi Parish, then as Pastor of Assumption Cathedral, then as Pastor of St. Ignatius Parish, all in Jakarta. He also worked in the Nunciature in Jakarta during this time. In 1984 he was elected a Delegate to the Eighth General Chapter.
Father Heffernan was assigned to the Philippines in 1989 and in 1991 was elected Second Assistant to the Regional Superior of the Philippines. From 1990 to 1992, he was Curate at Blessed Sacrament parish in Davao, and then was assistant at St. Joseph the Worker Parish, also in Davao. He served as director of the Philippine Catholic Lay Mission from June 1992 until January 1999, and was elected Second Assistant to the Regional Superior in 1998, and again in 2001.
Wake services were held at 4:30 p.m. on October 20, 2005 at St. Teresa’s, and at 7:30 p.m. in Queen of Apostles Chapel at Maryknoll Center where Father William Coy officiated and Brother Jude Conniff read the biography. Mass of Christian Burial was concelebrated in Queen of Apostles Chapel on October 21, 2005 at 11:00 a.m. Father J. David Sullivan was Principal Celebrant and Father Clyde Phillips homilist. Burial followed in Maryknoll Society Cemetery with Father Clyde Phillips conducting the graveside service. A memorial Mass for Father Heffernan was celebrated at St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Sasa Davao City, Philippines on October 20, 2005.