The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Paul McArdle, America’s first deacon, dies

Word is filtering through the diaconate community today that Paul McArdle, the first deacon ordained in the United States, has died.  
He was 76.

 I received the following comment on my blog this afternoon:

My name is Fr. Mario A. Castro, I am the Pastor of Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Brownsville, Texas, where Deacon Paul McArdle served for over 17 years. This is to inform all readers that Deacon Paul McArdle, first Deacon to be ordained in the United States, passed away this past Tursday, June 24th. His Rosary will be held at Good Shepherd Catholic Church Sunday, June 27th, at 7:00 pm and the Mass of Christian Burial will be held Monday, June 28th, at 11:00 am; also at Good Shepherd Catholic Church.


Eternal rest grant unto him, Oh Lord, And let perpetual light shine upon him.

Good Shepherd Catholic Church

2645 Tulipan Street

Brownsville, Texas 78521

Jim Alt, editor of Deacon Digest, forwarded to me this afternoon an article from 1995 that described a remarkable life. Deacon McCardle was born in 1933 in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and was a seminarian in the Passionist Community for nine years. He married in 1967. He and his wife Barbara had four children.

Paul McCardle began training for the diaconate in 1969 and was ordained a year later at SS Cyril & Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Michigan by the late Bishop Charles helmsing of the Kansas City, Missouri diocese. Deacon McCardle did a lot of missionary work and taught part time at a high school in Belize for several years. From 1979 to 1985, he served as a full time pastoral assistant at Christ the King Parish in Brownsville, Texas.

If anyone has more information or other pictures, please pass it along.  He will be in many prayers this weekend. 

Comments read comments(6)
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Simon Gomez

posted June 27, 2010 at 3:22 pm

I had the pleasure of knowning Deacon Paul, He was a great man and he will be missed by his family and friend he left behind. He was man that was full of compesion and it is sad day fro me and my family. I know that Deacon Paul is now with our Father. Eternal rest grant unto him, Oh Lord, And let perpetual light shine upon him.
Simon Gomez and Family
Brownsville, Texas

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Jessica Croy

posted June 27, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Deacon Paul was a great person. He was the one that conducted the svc for my 15 n the ceremony for my parents 50th anniversary. He was always smiling n would say “Queso” when taking a picture. I know that God greeted him with open arms. May he rest in peace, he will be greatly missed.

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posted June 28, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Paul McArdle, the first deacon ordained in the United States, has died. He was 76.It’ll be news to the thousands of men ordained as priests in this country in the last 234 years that they didn’t receive diaconal orders first.
[Good catch, Romulus. First permanent deacon.]

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posted October 20, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Deacon Paul, I was only a child when I was forced to go to the horrible school of IWA in Brownsville, Texas. You were the only one that I was safe with, to your grave you took the atrocities I endured in that horrible school. I have always had you on my mind, I will miss you and thank you for protecting me against those wicked people, may creator guide your journey and we will see each other again….

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Ken Maliszewski

posted May 3, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Mr. and Mrs McCardle were my very first teachers at Holy Rosary School in Fairmont City, IL. I remember them both very well. Miss Pulese, (Barbara McCardle) was my first grade teacher and when I was in second or third grade (65-66)they married. We used to march around the schoolyard saying the rosary everyday during lent back then. I remember Mr. McCardle leading. He also taught me some of the coolest kids songs I ever knew. He also was the first person I ever remember playing a guitar in Catholic Church. One or two years after they married they left Fairmont City to go be missionaries in Guatemala. After the early 1970’s they never visited fairmont City anymore. RIP Mr. McCardle.

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Ken Maliszewski

posted May 3, 2011 at 5:23 pm

He was not the first deacon in the USA but the first married Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church in the USA.

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