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Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Brother comes home

The remains of Br. Thomas McCann, the first Maryknoll Brother, who passed away in 1922 and had been buried in Los Angeles, will be re-interred at Maryknoll, N.Y. on Friday, June 18th, following a special Mass.

A place of honor will be afforded Brother Thomas under the Celtic Cross at the entrance to the upper cemetery. The cross once stood atop the Old Farmhouse that served as the Brothers Formation House back in the day. Br. Thomas joined the Auxiliary Brothers of St. Michael in 1912 and later worked at the Japanese mission in Los Angeles.

This translation and re-internment of Brother Thomas's earthly remains mark the unofficial countdown to the centenary celebration for the Maryknoll Brothers as well as the culmination of efforts going back several years.

"We didn't want to move the body here just for the sake of moving it," says Brother Kevin Dargan who has eagerly followed the process over the years. "There is precedence." Father Price's body was brought back from Hong Kong after the completion of the seminary building, Kevin said, and Mother Mary Joseph's body was moved from her original grave here at the Fathers and Brothers cemetery across the street to the Sisters once their cemetery was created.

Speaking of the Maryknoll Sisters, several shared stories of the old days when Br. Thomas would pull up to the loading stone (that huge, flat piece of granite behind the Price Building used to assist riders in getting in and out of horse-drawn carriages) to transport Sisters to and from the convent and Ossining.

Superior General Father Ed Dougherty will be the main celebrant at the special Mass with Br. Kevin Dargan reading the biography and Br. Wayne Fitzpatrick offering what would normally be called a homily if he were a priest but must be called a reflection because he is not. Brothers will also act as honorary pall bearers.  The difference between an honorary pall bearer and an ordinary pall bearer is that too many declined to volunteer if any heavy lifting was involved.

With this, we unofficially declare our Centenary celebration open!           


  1. Seeing the story about Br. Tom first on facebook, I became curious about him and the reinternment. Your blog explains it. Thanks. Is is public information what Br. Tom died of?
    Tom Rowan

  2. @Tom According to records, Brother Tom died of pneumonia at age 32. His poor health prevented him from going overseas..