Fr. Kenneth Oliver McCabe, SS.CC.
Having fought the good fight, having kept the faith, having finished the race, Fr. Kenneth Oliver McCabe, age 74, of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts, died on Tuesday, April 1, 2014.
He was born on July 8, 1939, to his parents, Michael and Bridget (Mullooly) McCabe, in Ballybay, Co. Monaghan. He received his primary education in the local national school and his first four Sacraments at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Ballybay. For his secondary school education, he went on to attend the renowned St. Macartan's College in Mullaghmurphy, in the parish of Donagh, Co. Monaghan.
In 1958, he joined the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts, spending his one-year novitiate in Tanagh, Cootehill, Co. Cavan, before moving on to the United States where he spent the next 6 years tending to his studies in philosophy and theology at Queen of Peace Mission Seminary in Jaffrey Center, New Hampshire. By 1965 he had achieved his BA in Philosophy and MA in Theology and had Minor Orders conferred on him, before returning to his homeland and Cootehill for Ordination to the Priesthood on August 15, 1965.
Upon his return to the United States, he was assigned to a one-year term as Associate Pastor to Our Lady of Victory, in Rochester, New York. In 1966, he was introduced to ministry in California, assigned to teach at Pomona Catholic Boys High School in La Verne, later re-named Damien High School. During this time he also helped with week-end ministry at St. Madeleine Catholic Church in Pomona. In 1970 following completion of his MA in history from Cal State LA, he volunteered to join the Congregation's newly established ministry at Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills, San Fernando Valley. During the next ten years, he variously served as teacher, department chair, and assistant Principal. Throughout this time he simultaneously engaged in week-end ministry in a number of parishes in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles-St. Elizabeth and St. Bridget of Sweden in Van Nuys, St. Didacus in Sylmar, St. Euphrasia in Northridge, and St. Linus in Norwalk. He also was very involved in Marriage Encounter. Subsequently-beginning in 1980-he became Staff Chaplain, first at St. John's Medical Center in Santa Monica, California and later (from 1984 to 1997) at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, San Fernando Valley, CA. In the background of all this (from 1972 to 1994), Fr. Ken served as Chaplain to the U.S. Army Reserves, and in 1990 during the Gulf War, he was mobilized to Brook Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In 1998, he returned to parish ministry, serving as Associate Pastor at St. John Eudes in Chatsworth, California, before moving on to serve (from 2000 to 2008) as Parochial Vicar at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Chino Hills, CA, retiring in July, 2008.
At this point, Fr. Ken decided to return to Ireland, and for the next three and a half years, served as Pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Clontibret, diocese of Clogher in Co. Monaghan, before returning to California in 2012 for his annual health check-up with the Veteran Affairs health care system and to have some health issues addressed. Following an extensive battery of medical tests, he was diagnosed as having cancer of the lymph nodes, and for the next two and a half years was committed to a rigorous regimen of chemo and radiation therapies.
Throughout his life, to the end, Fr. Kenny reflected the sentiments expressed in the motto of his beloved St. Macartan's, Fortis et Fidelis-Strong and Faithful. As we continue to keep lovingly and prayerfully in mind the person and spirit of our brother Kenny "who has slipped the surly bonds of earth" and now "is up and off and on his way to God," let us be mindful of Kenny's own words in which he exhorted us, Oremus pro invicem-Let us pray for one another.
Fr. Kenny is survived by his two brothers, Fr. John McCabe and Michael McCabe, and his sister, Mrs. Mary Conroy together with nephews and nieces-Barry, David, Ken, & Michelle McCabe; Emma & Judy Conroy, and Anne Marie (Conroy) McElroy.
Funeral Mass for Fr. Ken will be celebrated at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Chino Hills at 11:00 am on Wednesday, April 16, 2014.
Fr. Kenny's remains will be returned to his homeland and interred in the family grave in St. Patrick's cemetery, Ballybay, Co. Monaghan, IRELAND.