March 1, 2010

RIP: Fr. Bernard Smith, OFM Cap.

Today we received news of the sudden passing of Fr. Bernard from the pilgrimage of this life. He was Provincial Minister when I entered the Order, and was something of a father figure for many of us younger friars. I will never forget the spring morning that I rushed home from Mass to wait for his phone call with the news of the results of my application. He always looked after and encouraged us along the way. The birthday email he wrote to me two days ago is still sitting here in the gmail inbox! I shall have to answer it in a different way now.

Under his always entertaining bravado and endlessly recounted travelogues, Fr. Bernard was a man of big and gentle heart, whom one could trust and love right away. May he rest in peace, and may his good example live in our hearts.

In your charity, please offer a prayer for his rest, and for all who will mourn his loss and miss his pastoral solicitude.


UPDATE: Fr. Bernard will be waked on Thursday. The funeral Mass will be on Friday. Please click this link for the obituary and specific arrangements.

Requiescat in pace.

24 comments:

Michael Hallman said...

So sorry for you loss, Father. Your community and his eternal repose will be in my community's prayers.

gerryhei said...

I am a parishioner at St. Patrick's church and have always admired Father Smith and enjoyed his homilies. He will be missed terribly by all.
Gerry Heintz
Yorktown Heights, NY

Anonymous said...

He was known as the elder statesman of St. Patrick’s in Yorktown. He was the kindest gentlest man I have ever met, reminding me so much of my own father. His voice and smile would light up a room. Many would come to hear his real yet powerful down to earth homilies. I had the honor of knowing this man for the past 21 years and my children have known him since birth. He had left our parish twice before, only to return to us. I’m sure that the Lord needed a first string celebrant for this Sunday, which is shy he took him from us. All I can say is he certainly got the best. For there is no finer example of a human being than Fr. Smith, a man that I will Love and Miss for the rest of my life. May we meet again my friend…May one day I get to enjoy your homilies up there as I did down here. May God Bless you and keep you in the palm of his hand. Dave, Michele, Tommy & Christian

Anonymous said...

My family and I are parishioners of St. Patrick's Church in Yorktown Heights, where Father Bernard Smith was a weekend welcome. We have enjoyed his both on the alter and off for quite some time now and there will be a great sense of loss now that he has passed. He will be in out prayers.

BC
Yorktown Heights, NY

Anonymous said...

Today is a sad day for the parishioners at St. Patrick's Church in Yorktown Heights, NY for we are mourning the loss of one of our most beloved priests, Father Bernard Smith. His voice, while either singing or preaching, will always be remembered in our minds and hearts.

Anonymous said...

Fr Bernie was a wonderful example to all of us at St Patrick's in Yorktown, travelling all the way from Brooklyn every weekend until he moved back to the order on the Hudson. I enjoyed listening to his sermons; even my children would sit still and listen when he spoke. He always had something relevant to say and how well-read he was and up-to-date on world events. He will be sorely missed.

Anonymous said...

God Bless Fr Bernie and May he Rest in Peace. You and your wonderful sermons will be sadly missed in St Patrick's. He would even travel from Brooklyn every weekend to say Mass for us when he lived there for a few years. You were a wonderful priest - we need more just like you. The Gilmore Family

Sacred Heart Church Secular Franciscan Order said...

I Am So Sorry for Your Loss Fr. Charles, You Have My Deepest Sympathy.
I will keep you and the Franciscan Community in my Prayers.

Reggie Marra said...

I met Fr. Bernard shortly after graduating from Sacred Heart High School in Yonkers in 1972. As with many folks in the Sacred Heart community, I was lucky enough to grow in friendship with him. He, Mike Philp, Jim Frey and I enjoyed many meals together, especially at Jimmy's in Dobbs Ferry (the Padre, as I called him, enjoyed many meals with many folks). I will miss his laughter, his bone-crushing grip on my shoulders, and his authentic love.

Qualis Rex said...

Father Charles, I believe you are a good judge of character. I will definitely keep Father Bernard in my prayers tonite.

4narnia said...

oh, Fr C, i'm so sad to hear this news about the passing of Fr. Bernard. i (as well as many others, i'm sure) will deeply miss him everything you say about Fr. Bernard Smith is so true. the last thing he wrote to me was a Christmas card and in it (which i still have) he asked me to continue to pray for all of you (the Capuchins) which i have always done and will certainly pray in a special way for your great loss. please let us know when the wake and funeral will be. PAX. ~tara t~

Anonymous said...

I am so saddened to hear of Fr Smith's passing. I too am a Parishioner if St Patricks in Yorktown and always
resonated with Fr Smith's REAL and genuine style.
Godspeed Father till we meet again!

Anonymous said...

Today is a sad day for the parishioners at St. Patrick's Church in Yorktown Heights, NY for we are mourning the loss of one of our most beloved priests, Father Bernard Smith. His voice, while either singing or preaching, will always be remembered in our minds and hearts

Kristi Mercer said...

Uncle Thomas, as I knew him, will be missed by so many. His big personality touched so many lives. As I looked through my pictures last night the one thing I noticed was he always had a big smile on his face. We were fortunate enough to have him with us this past Christmas. He loved to sit there and soak in all the chaos of the family gathering, never judging, always happy to be there. Someone like Uncle Thomas leaves a huge hole in our hearts because his presence was so great!

Michael said...

Fr. Bernard was truly an amazing man. He was an awesome piano player and was just a great priest.
He took time at of his busy schedule to come back to Sacred Heart in Yonka's.... to baptize our new born twins. He would always try to join our Sacred Heart HS reunions and he would always distill life down to its most beautifully simplest form with his bendictions.
He will be sorely missed. As Clarence wrote in Mark Twain's book in It's a Wonderful Life, "no man is a failure who has friends" Fr Bernard hit the ball out of the park in the friendship category and probably has made sure many a little angels have earned their wings.

Jeanne said...

Sorry for your loss...it is hard to lose a father figure, a friend like that.

Anonymous said...

We are so sorry for your loss, Fr. Charles. It is also a tremendous loss for our St. Patrick’s community here in Yorktown - but what a great gain for heaven! I learned this morning at Mass of Fr. Smith’s passing and I was devastated, as was my husband when I told him. We feel so blessed that we had Fr. Bernie at St. Patrick’s for these past 14 years, and will miss him terribly, as our spiritual shepherd and personal friend. His homilies were always “on the mark”, his singing was joyous, and he was always so easy to talk to. We will miss the treasured dinners we shared together. He touched so many lives and no doubt holds a special place in our hearts. God bless your soul, Fr. Bernie. We love you and will miss you. Marie & Ray Martinez

Jennifer DosSantos said...

I am shocked and very saddened to hear of Father Smith's sudden passing. It always brought a smile to my face when I realized that he was saying the mass I attended on a Sunday. His homilies were real and resonated with me. He will be missed by all at St. Patrick's!!!

Anonymous said...

Father Charles, condolences to you and the other friars in the Provice for the loss of this great priest. It is clear from reading his obituary that his was a life of supreme dedication to the Capuchin order, and the breadth and variety of the ministries in which he served showed him to be a man of remarkable talents. The postings by those whose lives he touched in a special way are particularly memorable in that they show his success in the most critical aspect of priesthood, namely striving continually to lead all souls under his pastoral care to life everlasting in heaven.

Kate Hopkins said...

I knew Father Bernie through St. Patricks, and though it has been some time since I went to his mass... I would frequently call him just to update him on things. I'm going to miss his jovial voice as he greeted me and how he asked all sorts of questions... 'Now, tell me Kate...' I'm really going to miss his 'Hellooo Kate...' My mother and sisters will miss him dearly and life may seem a little less cheerier without such a good hearted person around.

Rich Scheibe said...

Thank you Father Bernie.
Recently you spoke of three life changing experiences in your life.
You were a life changing experience in my life.
May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death.
-Amen
Rich Scheibe
Yorktown Heights, New York

Kevin said...

I met Fr. Smith some 15 years ago as he was beginning his time at St. Patrick's. My father and uncle were General Contractors and had built the High School at Sacred Heart along with the Rectory Building and School Wing at St. Pats. We hit it off since he knew my uncle. It is a friendship that lasted all these years and one I will not be able to find again. He helped me more times than I can count. Always was available to me. We would have dinner together and one time I asked him, "Father, is it true you still have your first communion money?" His reply was an incredulous, "Who told you that?...would you cut it out!" He could take a joke and also realized the human condition. Tough when he had to be and gentle as well. I will miss his homilies as they were so on the mark and I looked forward to them each week. I will miss standing next to him after Mass each week. He would greet me with, "Hiya kid" and it would end with us hugging each other and he would always tell me I was a gem and he loved me. I am going to miss him deeply.......

Anonymous said...

I only new you Fr. Bernard Smith OFM Cap." about 5 years The first time we meet was at Fr Michael's ordination
I was and still am interested in seeing OFM Capuchin way of life.
I had the opportunity of restoring
and painting of St. Michael's Friary
Repaired the water damaged ceiling above your desk were you wrote the great homilies. I am going miss you
Fr. Bernard Smith OFM Cap."
My condolence to all of your brothers in Christ and family.
I am glad we spoke on Dec 25 2009
You will always not just be a Superior or a former provincial but the Guardian,I got to know and see.
God Bless You
Fr Bernard Smith OFM Cap."

From Vincent Naletilic

tyjambro@optimum.net said...

Bernie truly had become the elder statesman - full of compassion, wisdon, humor and love - he had become the heart and soul of St. Pat's ... he is forever in our prayers and above all in our hearts - I know you are enjoying eternal happiness - you are missed
MB
Yorktown Heights, NY