Father Owen J. Lafferty, who served as pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Mount Vernon for 12 years, died Oct. 6. He was 83.
He was pastor of Sacred Heart, 1984-1996, having previously served there for six months as administrator. He served as parochial vicar of Holy Innocents, Manhattan, 2004-2011; St. Joseph’s, Greenwich Village, 1998-2004; Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Elmsford, 1972-1983, and St. Anthony of Padua, the Bronx, 1966-1967.
He was a chaplain at Mount Sinai Medical Center, Manhattan, 1996-1998, and a counselor at St. Michael’s Home and the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin at Mount Loretto, Staten Island.
He also served on the faculty of John F. Kennedy Catholic High School, Somers, 1971-1972, and Cardinal Spellman High School, the Bronx, 1967-1971. He retired for medical reasons in 2011. Father Michael K. Holleran, parochial vicar at Notre Dame parish, Manhattan, recalled Father Lafferty as “extremely generous, very dedicated to the Lord and active in his ministry right up until the end, even in his retirement.”
Father Holleran had served with Father Lafferty when both were parochial vicars at St. Joseph’s, Greenwich Village.
“We would all concelebrate the main Mass so I heard him preach very often. I was always struck mainly by the fact that despite his very gentle and self-effacing personality, as soon as he got up to preach, he would preach with great strength and power about living for Jesus and according to His Spirit, living a life of the Gospel. “His whole personality was transformed once he began preaching. It was very striking and very moving.”
Born in Manhattan, he attended St. Stephen’s School, St. Joseph’s School, St. Ann’s Academy, Marist Prep, St. Joseph’s Novitiate and Marist College before attending Cathedral College and St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie.
He earned a master’s in theology from St. Joseph’s Seminary and a bachelor’s degree from Marist College in Poughkeepsie. He was ordained to the priesthood May 28, 1966.
A private graveside service was to be held at the convenience of the family at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale, L.I.