December 29, 2015 // Local

Father Patrick McNulty dies

COMBERMERE, ONTARIO, CANADA — Patrick Joseph McNulty, priest of Madonna House Apostolate, died on Dec. 17, at Our Lady of the Visitation-St. Mary’s in Combermere, Ontario, Canada. He was 84. He celebrated 55 years of Priesthood in 2015.

Father McNulty was born in Huntington on Oct. 23, 1931, to Joseph and Faye (King) McNulty, the eighth of 10 children. He attended St. Mary Grade School in Huntington as well as Huntington Catholic High School. Father McNulty graduated from Mount St. Mary in Ohio and was ordained to the Priesthood for the Diocese of Fort Wayne at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne on May 28, 1960, by Bishop Leo A. Pursley.

Father McNulty first served as parochial vicar at St. John the Baptist Parish in Fort Wayne. Subsequently he served in numerous parishes throughout the diocese including Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Fort Wayne, St. Henry, St. Andrew in Fort Wayne and Our Lady of Hungary in South Bend. He was a part-time teacher at Central Catholic High School in Fort Wayne from 1961-1968 and chaplain for the Handmaids of the Most Holy Trinity in South Bend.

From 1976-1978 he was in Jerusalem and Palestine working in a program for reconciliation between Jews, Christians and Islamic Arabs. At the same time he belonged to a core group of the Catholic Charismatic renewal.

Father McNulty first visited Madonna House in 1964, which marked the beginning of a long relationship with its founder Catherine Doherty. He made subsequent visits to the community over several years and became an associate priest on Aug. 15, 1969.

In 1978, he opened St. John Neumann Poustinia House, a ministry of prayer and listening, in Fort Wayne, and continued there until 1991 when he returned to Madonna House in Combermere, Ontario. He became a full-time member in 1993 and lived in the poustinia dedicated to Our Lady of Combermere. There he spent three days in prayer and the other days serving the community in various capacities as spiritual director, retreat master and ministering to the Madonna House Associate Priests throughout the world. For many years he helped out in parishes within the Pembroke diocese as well as preaching parish missions throughout Canada and the U.S.

Msgr. Bill Schooler, pastor of St. Pius X Parish in Granger, said of his long-time friend, “Father McNulty served as my spiritual director during a crucial time in my ministry. Under his direction, he helped me make the transition from being a high school teacher at Marian High School to serving as pastor at St. Paul of the Cross in Columbia City.”

He continued, “When Bishop (John M.) D’Arcy gave him permission to live permanently at Madonna House, we kept in touch. I traveled several times to meet with him and make retreats. Every year I would send him the Ordo for the coming Liturgical Year. Although he appreciated the information on the right side of the Ordo (which tells us what prayers and colors we should use each day), he really wanted the information on the left side. The left side of the Ordo lists each diocesan priest who died that day, and Father McNulty promised that he would pray for that priest. Both of us prayed that God would keep us off the left side of the Ordo as long as possible. Now that his name will be added to the left side for next year, I pray that God grants him eternal rest.”

Father Jack Overmyer, chaplain of Saint Anne Communities in Fort Wayne, knew Father McNulty as spiritual director as well, for him as he discerned the Priesthood. Of Father McNulty he said, “He was always of service to other people. He was very devout when celebrating Mass. … He had a great love of the gentle mercy of God.”

Father Overmyer recalled several visits with Father McNulty when he would profess deep gratitude for the blessing of his Priesthood.

Father McNulty is predeceased by his parents, brothers John, Roger, Donald (Noreen), Mark (Maureen), Bernard (Paula), and sister Jane Flower. He is survived by sisters Joalys Rice (Spokane, Washington); Elizabeth Ann Huhn (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida) and brother, Frederick (Fort Wayne).

Wake services were held on Dec. 20 at Madonna House St. Mary’s Chapel. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Dec. 21 with internment at the Madonna House cemetery. A reception followed.


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