Father Anthony Joseph Nealon, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province (1906-1966)

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Born on January 13, 1906. He was professed on October 18, 1925. He was ordained on February 8, 1931. He died in Mexico City on October 26, 1966. Archbishop Miguel Miranda y Gomez of Mexico City praised Father Nealon in his homily which was delivered in Spanish. Father John Chrysotom Ryan, represented the provincial and Father Dunstan Stout, on vacation from Mexico City attended the funeral as did many other Passionists from the Spanish and Italian provinces in Mexico. Members of other religious orders also were present. Diplomat representatives of the United States were at the funeral.

The eulogy for Father Nealon was, to that date, 1966, the only one written by a laymen, Paul V. Murray, and circulated throughout the province and read to the members of the Passionist community.

In 1946 Father Nealon arrived at Mexico City College in order to learn Spanish. In 1961 the school became known as University of the Americas. Father Nealon became well-known in Mexico City. He and Paul V. Murray helped found the Newman Club there. Six members of the Anglo-American community took it upon themselves to get a priest for their own church that was to be built in front of the American School Foundation on the heights of Tacubaya which was then a suburb of Mexico City. Father Nealon ended up as the first pastor of St. Patrick’s.

Ground was broken in 1948 but it took some time before construction began. During construction Father Nealon lived with the Italian Passionists in Tacubaya, Mexico City and said mass for the English speaking at Divina Providencia near Mexico City College. He received assistance from Monsignor Mioses Ugalde of San Miguel, Tacubaya, who happened to anoint Father Nealon when he died..

Father Nealon had a simple diet (early on it was Campbell’s soup) and was a respected confessor. While the post-Vatican II people might say he was conservative he did not fail to touch the faith of people. “My chief theological authorities are the saintly theologians” he would say.

He was to be most respected for his ability to be an effective priest as a foreigner in a culture that imposed numerous restrictions upon the Catholic clergy in terms of legal building and for that matter, clerical garb. Father Nealon did slowly introduce the changes which were mandated by Vatican II.

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