Skip to content

Fr. Owen A. McGrath, CSP: Star Athlete Who Gave His Life to the Priesthood

By James Penrice
5/5/2010 (7 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Fr. Owen McGrath, CSP drew crowds to a higher arena

While athletes accepting religious vocations continue to make headlines, it really is nothing new. Consider the life of this Paulist priest who was ordained in 1908.The article reports on the ordination two days earlier of Fr. Owen A. McGrath, CSP, at New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral. It reports that Fr. McGrath was a "former quarterback on the Dartmouth football team, and also pitcher of the base-ball nine of the same institution."

We remember Fr. Owen McGrath, CSP in our prayers, along with all priests who have given their lives in service to Christ and his Church. We pray that many more men from all walks of life will follow in their footsteps.

We remember Fr. Owen McGrath, CSP in our prayers, along with all priests who have given their lives in service to Christ and his Church. We pray that many more men from all walks of life will follow in their footsteps.

Highlights

By James Penrice
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
5/5/2010 (7 years ago)

Published in Vocations


GRAND RAPIDS, MI (Catholic Online) - Sports are fertile ground for cultivating religious vocations. In the last few months alone, Catholic Athletes for Christ has reported through Catholic Online on a bishop who played college basketball, a Franciscan sister who was an Olympic speed skater, a Franciscan friar who is a life-long skateboarder, and a professional baseball player who left a promising career to enter the seminary. We have more stories to share in the months to come. Yet this is not at all a new development. While athletes accepting religious vocations continue to make headlines, it is really old news. Consider this headline from the Pittsburgh Press sports section of June 15, 1908: "Former Athlete a Catholic Priest." The article reports on the ordination two days earlier of Fr. Owen A. McGrath, CSP, at New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral. It reports that Fr. McGrath was a "former quarterback on the Dartmouth football team, and also pitcher of the base-ball nine of the same institution." In the ornamented journalistic style of the day, the reporter writes that "during his four years in Dartmouth he was the means of carrying the colors of his college to victory many times in the contests of the gridiron and diamond." With the help of Fr. Gilbert Martinez, CSP, Catholic Online was able to learn some details of Fr. McGrath's life and priestly service with the Paulist Fathers. It is fitting that as we  profile priests and religious with athletic backgrounds, we remember and honor those who have completed their earthly mission and have gone before us to the heavenly banquet. Owen Augustine McGrath was born on December 27, 1881, in South Boston. He attended the Boston Latin School, where he garnered a number of athletic awards. At Dartmouth he excelled at football and baseball, and was a member of the Theta Delta Chi fraternity. After beginning theological studies he continued to play baseball at St. Thomas College, the Paulists' home for studies in Washington, DC. He professed first vows on December 8, 1907, and was ordained a priest on June 13, 1908. Fr. McGrath spent most of his priestly life preaching missions, during which he encouraged devotion to the Cure of Ars and St. Therese of Lisieux. He served as a military chaplain during World War I. Afterwards he was sent to New York City, where he served as Prefect of the Paulist Choir School and also served at St. Paul the Apostle Church. During Lent of 1935 Fr. McGrath traveled to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, to preach a mission at the Cathedral. During the mission he was stricken with appendicitis, and died soon after surgery on March 30 at the age of 53. He is buried at St. Paul the Apostle, the Paulists' Mother Church, in New York City. In the Paulist archives Fr. McGrath is remembered as being "well known for his joyful disposition, combined with a devotional spirit. His manner of preaching was strenuous and rapid-fire." He fulfilled the prediction made about his ministry in the Pittsburgh Press article: "Although he has not yet received any appointment from the Superior of the order, he will probably engage in aggressive mission work. He is an eloquent and forceful preacher, and has the gift of winning the interest and support of boys and young men." We remember Fr. Owen McGrath, CSP in our prayers, along with all priests who have given their lives in service to Christ and his Church. We pray that many more men from all walks of life will follow in their footsteps.

-----
James Penrice is the author of eight books, a correspondent for Catholic Athletes for Christ, and a contributor to Catholic Online.

---


'Help Give every Student and Teacher FREE resources for a world-class Moral Catholic Education'


Copyright 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for APRIL 2018
For those who have Responsibility in Economic Matters.
That economists may have the courage to reject any economy of exclusion and know how to open new paths.


Comments



More Vocations

Latest Vocation News

Pope Francis tells priests to 'Be like Jesus the Good Shepherd' Watch

Image of

On Sunday Pope Francis ordained 16 men to the priesthood, reminding them to be like Jesus the Good Shepherd in the way they serve the ... continue reading


What's it like to be a consecrated hermit? Watch

Image of

The word 'hermit' might conjure up some strange images, a la John the Baptist living reclusively in the desert, wearing a hair shirt and ... continue reading


The importance of Sisters in schools

Image of When a CK sister is donning her dark blue habit, that means the months are turning colder

In Lincoln, Nebraska, you can tell the seasons by the habits of the School Sisters of Christ the King. Denver, Colo. (CNA/EWTN News) - It's ... continue reading


Why are some Vocations dying? Watch

Image of Vocations that only seek to 'climb the ladder' are dead.

On Saturday, Pope Francis told Colombia's priests and religious that vocations come from a variety of different backgrounds and flourish ... continue reading


This Irish priest sings the most beautiful adaptation of 'Hallelujah' you have ever heard Watch

Image of Fr. Ray Kelly is a singing sensation with his beautiful voice and artful adaptations.

Irish priest, Fr. Ray Kelly has an adaptation of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' that will move you to tears. The video, which has gone viral, ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.