Rev. Monsignor Frank E. Mahler

December 15, 1929March 13, 2019

Rev. Monsignor Frank E. Mahler 1929~2019

Monsignor Mahler, founding pastor of both St. Lawrence Church in Alexandria and St. Clare of Assisi Church in Clifton, died at Saint Joseph Home in Richmond March 13. He was 89 years old.

A visitation and vigil service will be held at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington March 19 4:30-7:30 p.m. with a vigil service at 7:30 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at the Cathedral March 20 at 10 a.m., with intermentto follow immediately at Fairfax Memorial Park, 9902 Braddock Rd., Fairfax. A reception will follow at Holy Spirit School, 5121 Woodland Way, Annandale.

He was born Dec. 15, 1929, on Long Island, N.Y. He attended local schools, graduating from high school in 1948. In 1952, he earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Jerome’s College in Kitchener, Ontario, and then entered St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore.

Due to his mother’s illness, his ordination to the priesthood was moved by special permission from Richmond to New York City so that she could attend. He was ordained by Cardinal Francis Spellman on May 6, 1956.

Father Mahler’s first assignment was Parochial Vicar of St. Thomas More Church in Arlington, now the Cathedral of St. Thomas More. Prior to the founding of the Diocese of Arlington, he served as Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Richmond and St. Bernadette in Springfield. In 1966, he was named administrator of Our Lady of Nazareth Church in Roanoke and in 1967 he was appointed founding pastor of St. Lawrence Church in Alexandria.

Following two years serving in the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming and a one-year leave of absence, Father Mahler returned to ministry in the newly established Diocese of Arlington in 1975. In that year he served as Parochial Vicar of the Cathedral of St. Thomas More, administrator of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Arlington, and administrator of Good Shepherd Church in Alexandria.

Bishop Thomas J. Welsh then appointed him pastor of Good Shepherd Church and the pastor of St. John Church in McLean in 1979. In 1982 he was named Pontifical Prelate of Honor, with the title “Monsignor.”

Monsignor Mahler was pastor of St. John the Apostle Church in Leesburg from 1986 to 1990. He then spent six years as Parochial Vicar of Blessed Sacrament Church in Alexandria before Bishop John R. Keating named him the first pastor of St. Clare of Assisi Church in Clifton in 1996. He was named Parochial Vicar of St. James Church in Falls Church in 1998. Monsignor Mahler retired from active ministry on December 15, 2004, his 75th birthday. He remained active in his retirement, first in residence at Blessed Sacrament Church and then as the first resident of the newly opened Saint Rose of Lima Priests' Retirement Villa in Annandale in 2010. As his health began to decline in 2017, Monsignor Mahler moved to assisted living in Northern Virginia and then finally to Saint Joseph Home, run by the Little Sisters of the Poor.

"With the clergy, consecrated religious and lay faithful of the Diocese of Arlington, I was saddened to hear of the passing of Monsignor Frank Mahler early this morning at the Little Sisters of the Poor residence in Richmond," said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge. "Monsignor served faithfully, first in the Diocese of Richmond and then in the Diocese of Arlington after its establishment in 1974. In my brief time knowing him I came to appreciate his fidelity, generosity, and good humor. He provided all of us with a great example of priestly life and ministry. May the Lord now grant him the reward of his labors.

"I also take this opportunity to thank the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist and the Little Sisters of the Poor for their care of Monsignor over the past several years," he said. "Their solicitude for both his physical and spiritual wellbeing are a wonderful witness to the Gospel."

~photo and notice courtesy of The Arlington Catholic Herald:


  • Visitation Tuesday, March 19, 2019
  • Vigil Service Tuesday, March 19, 2019
  • Mass of Christian Burial Wednesday, March 20, 2019
  • Graveside Service Wednesday, March 20, 2019
  • Reception Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Rev. Monsignor Frank E. Mahler

have a memory or condolence to add?

Christiane Lourenco

March 20, 2019

Our family knew Monsignor Mahler for many many years..he blessed our family's Weddings and Baptisms with his presence and supported us during Funerals. We will miss him dearly and every time the Dallas Cowboys play or I see peach ice cream I will remember him fondly.

With deepest and sincerest sympathy to his family we pray for the repose of his soul.

Severin Lourenco, Christiane Neto Lourenco, Jessica Lourenco and Steven Lourenco

Franco Neto

March 19, 2019

Our family knew Monsignor Mahler as the pastor of St. John's in McLean. He also presided over our wedding ceremony in 2002. We were truly privileged and blessed to have him in our lives. Rest in peace Monsignor.


March 19, 2019

My first memory of Father Mahler was as a 7th grade student at St. Bernadette's in Springfield, VA. Our history spanned a lifetime that included him serving as Pastor at St. John's in McLean where he became a devoted friend to my relatives, who then became his parishioners and dear friends. Years later we would meet again when he was assigned to my Parish, St. John the Apostle in Leesburg, VA.

Throughout the years he was first and foremost an old fashioned priest, who was dedicated to his vocation, and his love of the Lord was evident in his daily life. He shared his abiding faith, but never appeared to be pious or preachy. He always found time to make special visits to our preschool and was a true shepherd in the church communities where he served the young and old and he offered comfort to those living alone, as well as his special ministry trying to bring hope to those incarcerated in jail.

He was always available in hours of need. He officiated at family weddings, communions and final farewell masses for many of my family members. He was a humble and good man and I am most grateful for the privilege of having known him. While his last years were filled with health challenges, I have no doubt that he reached his final destination welcomed by the throngs of so many who were awaiting his arrival and now at peace in the presence of our Lord.

Thank you, Father Mahler and God Bless you, you will never be forgotten...

With loving thoughts and prayers to his family and all who loved him.

Patti Morgan ~ Alexandria, VA