Former John XXIII priest passes away

SAN FRANCISCO—Father Peter Gerard Shea, CSP, who formerly served at Blessed John XXIII Parish in Knoxville, died Sept. 23 in San Francisco.

A funeral Mass was held Sept. 27 at Old St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco. A funeral Mass also was celebrated Sept. 29 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Oak Ridge, N.J. Burial took place after the funeral in the Paulist section of St. Thomas the Apostle Cemetery.

Father Shea, 80, entered the Paulist Fathers’ novitiate Sept. 8, 1958, and was ordained May 11, 1962. He had just celebrated 50 years of Paulist priesthood last spring. He was serving as associate pastor of Old St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco when he died.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Father Shea and his seven siblings attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, served by Sisters of St. Joseph.

Father Shea was ordained by Cardinal Francis J. Spellman at the Paulist mother church, the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in Manhattan.

He became director of Blessed John XXIII Parish at the University of Tennessee in 1984. Father Shea went to St. Peter Church in Toronto in 1988. He became associate pastor at Old St. Mary’s in San Francisco in 1996. Still in active ministry until his death, Father Shea celebrated liturgies, helped with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program, directed a “Saturday for Engaged Couples” program, and tended to the other pastoral needs of the community.

“I love the work, working with people,” Father Shea said, “It is fascinating and inspiring to me and my own faith.”

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