Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Monday, April 23, 2018

obit fr kerwan francis webENFIELD – Father Francis T. Kerwan, 99, pastor emeritus of Holy Family Parish, died on March 22, 2016, at St. Joseph’s Residence.

He was born on Sept. 16, 1916, in Waterbury, a son of the late James and Mary (Whalen) Kerwan. He graduated from St. Margaret School and Crosby High School in Waterbury in 1930 and 1934, respectively. He earned a degree in philosophy from St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield in 1939 and completed studies in theology at St. Bernard Seminary in Rochester, N.Y., in 1943.

Father Kerwan was ordained to the priesthood by the late Bishop Maurice F. McAuliffe on June 3, 1943, in St. Joseph Cathedral in Hartford.

Father Kerwan’s first parish assignment was to St. Mary in Portland from 1943-45. He enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps as a chaplain during World War II, serving in the European Theater, in Manila and Japan from 1945-47. After military service, he was assigned to St. Joseph Church in New Haven until 1950, when he was recalled for further military duty during the Korean War.

Again returning from military service in 1953, Father Kerwan was assigned to St. Francis of Assisi in Naugatuck, where he served until 1957 when he went to St. John of the Cross Parish in Middlebury. In 1961, he was reassigned to St. Peter Parish in Hartford. On Sept. 16, 1965, Father Kerwan was appointed pastor of the newly designated Holy Family Parish in Enfield, by the late Archbishop Henry J. O’Brien.

Father Kerwan continued service in the Connecticut Army National, was appointed senior chaplain and retired with the rank of colonel.

Father Kerwan was a member of the Washington Irving Knights of Columbus Council 50 and the Rev. William Kilcoyne Assembly Fourth Degree, both in Enfield.

At the time he was designated pastor emeritus of Holy Family in 2013, he had been a priest for 70 years and was the longest-serving active pastor in the Archdiocese of Hartford.

Father Kerwan leaves a nephew, John Kerwan, and family. He was predeceased by his brothers, Msgr. James Kerwan and John Kerwan; and his sister Marion W. Kerwan.

A parish Mass was celebrated on March 28 at Holy Family, where Archbishop Leonard P. Blair was the principal celebrant of a Mass of Christian Burial the next morning.

Burial with military honors was in Calvary Cemetery in Waterbury.

Donations in Father Kerwan’s memory may be made to the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1365 Enfield St., Enfield, CT 06082; or St. Vincent DePaul Society, c/o Holy Family Church, 23 Simon Rd., Enfield, CT 06082.