John J. O’Brien, C.P.
1941 – 2010
1941 – 2010
John J. O’Brien, C.P., a Passionist priest, died after a brief illness at the University of Connecticut Medical Center on October 15, 2010. He was 69 years old. Father O’Brien graduated from Cathedral High School in Brooklyn, NY in 1959. After earning an Associate’s Degree at Cathedral College, he entered the Passionist Community in 1961. He professed vows as a Passionist in 1962 and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Edgerton Clark in 1969, having earned a Master’s Degree from St. Michael’s Seminary in Union City, NJ. In 1977, Fr. O’Brien earned a Master’s Degree in Liturgical Studies from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN.
Father O’Brien engaged in retreat ministry at the Passionist retreat centers in North Palm Beach, FL and West Hartford, CT from 1970 to 1978. After serving as a member of the itinerant preaching band, he was named pastor of St. Gabriel’s Parish in Brighton, MA in 1980. He served as formation director for Passionist students at the pre-novitiate and theologate levels from 1983 to 1990. For most of the past twenty years, Father O’Brien ministered in Massachusetts, at Calvary Passionist Retreat Center in Shrewsbury, St. Malachy’s Parish in Burlington, Sacred Heart Parish in Lexington, and as a professor of Theology at Anna Maria College in Worcester and Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston. He earned his Doctorate in Theology from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in 2002.
Father O’Brien was the author of a number of publications in theology, including articles on liturgy for scholarly journals and entries in the New Dictionary of Sacramental Worship, the New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality, and the Collegeville Pastoral Dictionary of Biblical Theology. In 2005, he published a book on the renowned Catholic labor activist, Monsignor George Higgins, entitled George G. Higgins and the Quest for Worker Justice (Sheed & Ward). He was also an active member of a number of professional societies, including the North American Academy of Liturgy, the Catholic Historical Society, Pax Christi, and the International Merton Society.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at Immaculate Conception Church in Jamaica, NY on October 20, 2010, with interment at the Passionist monastery cemetery.
Tribute prepared by the Passionists.