Father Thomas Dempsey, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province (1883-1936)

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Born John Joseph Dempsey on March 8, 1883 in Brooklyn, New York, he was active in his local parish and decided to enter religious life. He made his profession of Passionist vows on February 17, 1903 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and after studies was ordained in Brooklyn on May 21, 1900. After ordination he was assistant pastor at St. Mary’s Parish, Dunkirk, New York from 1912 until 1915 and then held the same position at St. Michael’s Parish, West Hoboken, New Jersey until 1917. When World War I commenced Father Dempsey responded to the call up for volunteers and until 1920 served as a military chaplain with the 22nd Infantry at Governor’s Island, New York. In 1920 he was then assigned as assistant pastor at St. Ann’s Monastery Parish, Scranton, Pennsylvania and then was appointed pastor of St. Michael’s Parish, Union City until 1929. At this point he was called to the overseas missions. He gladly went to Hankou, China where he served as Passionist procurator of missions. He was responsible for the transfer of goods and materials into the interior of China. However, after some time there his health began to fail and he returned to the United States where he was assigned as a parish priest at St. Mary’s, Dunkirk. Next he was assigned to St. Gemma’s Residence, Hyattsville, Maryland to be superior of the student-priests who were studying at The Catholic University of America. From there he was sent back to Union City and became chaplain at Snake Hill, which was the Hudson County Institutions Care Facility at Laurel Hill, New Jersey. He died of a heart condition.

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