Father Marcellus McCarthy, C.P., Holy Cross Province (1877-1945)

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Born Gregory James McCarthy in Berea, Ohio on April 8, 1877, he was the son of Patrick McCarthy and Joanna Murphy. He was professed on December 30, 1898 and received the religious name Marcellus. He was ordained on December 17, 1904. Educated in Berea he attended St. Mary’s grade school and as a child used to enjoy dressing up in liturgical vestments of the day and pretending to say prayers in Latin. He graduated from Berea High school in 1896. Earlier he had met two Passionists who had conducted a parish mission. When he asked his father if he might go to join the order his father said no for he believed that young Gregory had poor lungs and that Passionist life would be too severe. But Gregory would not agree and told his father that at the sage of 21 he planned to enter the Passionists. So after graduation he worked as a grocery store clerk and delivery boy until September 1897 when he went to the Passionists at St. Mary’s, Dunkirk, New York. This sense of self-reliance and freedom followed him all his life. He was professed on December 30, 1898 and ordained on December 17, 1904. After ordination he became Vice-Master of Novices, a seminary professor and director of students. In the latter capacity many considered him to quite a task master, though all admit he was sincere. In later years he was vicar at St. Louis, Missouri and two times was elected as a provincial consultor. In addition, he was a popular preacher on the West Coast of the United States. While little is noted about his preaching to the laity, he was esteemed for his preaching to religious communities especially to the Little Sisters of the Poor in Holy Cross Province. He loved to smoke a pipe. As provincial consultor in 1937 he went to Europe which proved to be the catalyst for many stories which he loved to repeat. Father McCarthy was a member of the Passionist community that first resided at Sierra Madre in 1923. Overall he had three terms there. The first was from 1923 to 1927 when he was assistant to Father Peter Hanley, C.P. at St. Rita’s parish and a missioner. His second term was from August 1938 until September 1941 when he was a preacher and on the staff of the retreat house. He arrived in 1942 from Cincinnati, Ohio as a very weak man with high blood pressure.