OBITUARY

Fr. Joseph Leo Doran

August 27, 1928March 2, 2021

Fr. Joseph Doran, SDB (1928-2021) by Fr. Mike Mendl, SDB

Fr. Joseph L. Doran, SDB, a professed Salesian of Don Bosco for over 64 years and a priest for over 54 years, died of Covid-19 on Tuesday morning, March 2, at the Joe Raso Hospice Residence in New City, N.Y. A member of the Salesian community at the Marian Shrine in Haverstraw, N.Y., he was 92 years old. Fr. Doran was the youngest of the five children of William and Ethel Marie (Dickey) Doran. He was born on August 27, 1928, in Jamestown, Pa., which remained his hometown. He was baptized at St. Bridgit’s Church in Meadville, Pa., on September 30 of that year, and he was also confirmed there in 1944. The family were dairy farmers and later became members of St. Philip Church in Linesville, Pa. Joe attended Pymatuning Joint High School in Jamestown. After his parents’ deaths, Joe left dairy farming in January 1955, at age 26, to pursue the priestly vocation in a religious order, if it would be God’s will. He was attracted to the Salesians because of their work in education. He was accepted at Don Bosco College in Newton, N.J., as a Son of Mary on January 31, 1955, and on September 7 that year entered the novitiate in Newton. A year later, on September 8, 1956, he made his first profession of religious vows. Three years later he graduated from Don Bosco College with a B.A. in philosophy; he was an average student. On August 25, 1962, he made his perpetual vows, also at the college. Bro. Joe did his practical training at Salesian High School in New Rochelle, N.Y. (1959-1960), teaching math, and Mary Help of Christians School in Tampa (1960-1962), teaching general science and arithmetic. Having completed his period of practical training, he went to Italy to study theology at the Istituto Salesiano Teologico in Bollengo, Italy (1962-1966), and was ordained in the cathedral of Ivrea, Italy, on June 29, 1966. His first assignment as a priest was to Salesian Juniorate in Cedar Lake, Ind., as principal for the 1966-1967 school year; he also taught math. Thirteen years of teaching math, general science, and religion followed in New Rochelle (1967-1969) and at Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J. (1969-1980), during which he was noted for his outspoken theological orthodoxy in both teaching and writing. He wrote of his time at Ramsey: “It was a very work-filled and rewarding ministry. We had good students, gave them a good education, and so had exceptional alumni (well represented in the various professions).” Dr. James Scanlon, at various times assistant principal, principal, and alumni liaison at Don Bosco Prep, speaks glowingly of the priest he always called “Fr. Doran,” never “Fr. Joe,” describing him as “the consummate Algebra 2 and Trig teacher—kind, caring, attentive both in and out of the classroom; serious, often pre-occupied, never afflicted with the drive to have his picture taken so it might appear in several parts of the yearbook; appreciated and respected by our boys and a valued collaborator among faculty and staff. If you are looking for an individual who exemplifies selflessness, commitment, modesty, and accompaniment through Salesian life, Fr. Doran is a top choice.” In 1977 Fr. Joe completed an M.A. in theology at Villanova University in Philadelphia, with an emphasis on Scripture and a B+ academic average. During those teaching years, he enjoyed doing weekend parish ministry, especially at St. Leo the Great Church in Lincroft, N.J. After leaving Don Bosco Prep, Fr. Joe engaged in 14 years of parish ministry, mostly as an associate pastor: nine years at St. Anthony Parish in Paterson, N.J. (1980-1989), a year at Holy Rosary and St. John Bosco parishes in Birmingham, Ala. (1989-1990), two years at St. Mark Church in Hyattsville, Md. (1991-1993), while studying at the John Paul II Institute in Washington, earning an MTS in theology in 1993, and two years as pastor on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera caring for St. Gregory the Great Parish and four attached mission churches (1993-1995), several of which had been severely damaged by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The Salesians had begun their missionary work in the Bahamas in 1970; Fr. Joe was the last to participate in that missionary activity, and he testifies, “It was real missionary work.” He found his years in Paterson especially rewarding: “It was a varied and rich ministry—with the weekend parish Masses, the weekday grammar and high school Masses, initiating a school basketball team, and night sports activity for the neighborhood youths, hospital visits and the First Friday communions, and the various church societies. The Salesian Cooperators really flourished in those years.” Fr. Joe also undertook retreat house ministry at Sacred Heart Retreat House in Ipswich, Mass. (1990-1991 and 1995-1999). For 18 years he was chaplain for the Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate, about 45 sisters, at their motherhouse, Marycrest, in Monroe, N.Y. He lived from 1999 to 2003 on the former Salesian Junior Seminary property in Goshen, N.Y., sharing the old convent with another confrere, and then for 14 years at Marycrest’s rectory (2003-2017). The Parish Visitors very much appreciated Fr. Joe’s service. On Christmas Day 2015 they honored him with their Mother Mary Teresa Tallon Award (commemorating their foundress) for his years as “the bearer of God’s merciful love to us and to many others outside of our Community in the local parishes and hospitals.” They recognized “the years you have shown us untiring devotion as our chaplain: offering daily Mass, serving as our confessor and ministering to our Sisters who are ill, as well as to those whom God has called to their eternal reward.” The citation concluded: “Your untiring devotion to the truth of the sacredness of all human life from conception to natural death has inspired us all. Your love for Holy Mother Church and the saints that God has given us throughout the ages, has likewise been a blessing for us. Finally, your sense of humor reminds us of Pope Francis’s words that the Christian life is to be one of joy because God’s love ‘is unstoppable.’” Fr. Joe was assigned in 2017—by then 89 years old—to the Salesian Boys & Girls Club in East Boston to help with sacramental ministry. In 2018 he retired to the Salesians’ new assisted living home at the Marian Shrine in Haverstraw. But even in this retirement, he continued to offer his priestly services until the pandemic led to the suspension of Shrine activities. Fr. Joe summed up his Salesian vocation by citing the Salesian motto, “Give me souls, and take away the rest,” and commenting, “I see my vocation as fruitful and rewarding—in accomplishing the Church’s work of evangelization.

Services

  • Visitation

    Friday, March 5, 2021

  • Funeral Mass

    Friday, March 5, 2021

Memories

Fr. Joseph Leo Doran

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Stanley E & Linda N Lupinski

March 14, 2021

Father Doran was our weekend associate priest at St. Joseph's and St. Stanislaus in Florida & Pine island N.Y. for a number of years. His sermons were always meaningful and he was a man of principle. He will be sorely missed by everyone who had any contact with him. May God bless him and may he take his rightful place in heaven.

Salvatore Intrieri

March 12, 2021

Father Joe was a great man, who truly cared for his parishioners, particularly when I got to know him at St. Anthony’s parish in Paterson, NJ back in the day. I guess the Lord needed a special man to work with him and he could not have selected a better human being than Father Joe. God Bless you sir and God speed to you my friend.

David R

March 11, 2021

I remember Fr. Joe when I was at Salesian Seminary in Cedar Lake, IN. He was the in charge of the freshmen barracks in 1966-67. I remember hiding a radio in my pillow to listen to pop radio, he stood over my bed that evening. The radio disappear the next day. Rest In Peace Fr. Joe

John Bonnici

March 5, 2021

Father Joe was a great gift to the people at Saint Columba in Chester New York. His love for God and His people was evident in the way he celebrated the mass, heard confessions and served the pastoral needs of those in his care. His genuine proclamation of the Gospel of life was truly inspirational. He will be remembered at the Sunday masses. May he rest in peace.

Kelly Thatcher

March 4, 2021

Father "uncle" Joe, I called him. Aside from his nephew? He was the best confessor I ever had. In fact, after my first confession with him at Saint Francis Chapel, I asked the director: "Who is that Really. Cool. Priest.???" Father Jim Doran answered: "He's my uncle."

Pray for us, Father Uncle Joe. Lord, welcome him into Your arms -- and quickly! -- and bless and comfort his beautiful family members and loved ones. Amen.

Jeannette Hayes

March 4, 2021

Fr Joe, sister Jeannette, brother Jim, brother Bill

Jeannette Hayes

March 4, 2021

Fr Joe, his sister Jeannette, and brother Bill

Jeannette Hayes

March 4, 2021

Fr Joe w his sister Jeannette and Charles Hayes Family

Jeannette Hayes

March 4, 2021

Fr Joe's Family
Bill, Jeannette, Mother Ethel, Jim, Father William F.
Joe, Mary

Jeannette Hayes

March 4, 2021

Jim Doran - Mary Doran - Fr Joseph Doran

FROM THE FAMILY