Father Ronald J. Ferrier, 80, a teacher of Latin and physical science at the former Cardinal Dougherty High School in Philadelphia, died suddenly Aug. 2. He was 80.
Born April 16, 1940 in Norristown, he was the son of the late Jeremiah Ferrier and Margaret (Fulginiti) Ferrier.
He attended St. Matthew School, Conshohocken and St. Matthew High School (later Archbishop Kennedy High School). He then entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and was ordained at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul on May 18, 1968 by Cardinal John Krol.
His first assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Isidore Parish, Quakertown followed by his assignment as a teacher at Cardinal Dougherty, where he would remain for four decades until it closed in 2010. During that time for six years he was in residence at Visitation B.V.M. Parish in Philadelphia, followed by seven years at Our Lady of Consolation, Philadelphia and for 27 years at the Provincial House of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, Philadelphia, where he served as chaplain.
“He was a good man, so good, and an excellent priest,” said Sister Celine Warnilo, C.S.F.N., a former congregation superior. “Nothing was too much for him and I never heard him say an unkind word. He never talked about himself, you were there to talk to.”
After Cardinal Dougherty closed, Father Ferrier took up residence at St. Katherine Parish in Torresdale, Philadelphia, first as a parochial vicar until his retirement at 75, but remaining in residence until his death.
Msgr. Paul Kennedy, who is the pastor of St. Katherine, is also a former president of Cardinal Dougherty High School and remembers Father Ferrier in those years as well as his years at St. Katherine.
“He was a nice guy, people liked him very much,” Msgr. Kennedy said. “He was a bit shy, but people brought out the best in him. He was known for his short homilies, mostly drawn for the Psalms.
“The priest faculty at Cardinal Dougherty enjoyed his company and people in the house enjoyed his company. He was a great story-teller, not about himself, but on himself. He was very spiritual and very well read on many topics including theology and history.”
While Father Ferrier had a great love for the liturgy and the celebration of the sacraments, his avocation was gardening, taking care of the flowers and growing vegetables at St. Katherine, according to Msgr. Kennedy.
There will be a viewing for Father Ferrier at St. Katherine Church on Thursday, Aug. 6, beginning at 9 a.m. followed by his 11 a.m. funeral Mass celebrated by Bishop John J. McIntyre.
Among the concelebrants will be Msgr. Thomas A. Murray, Father David Buffum, Father William Monahan, Msgr. Thomas Murray and Msgr. Kennedy, who will be the homilist.
Father Ferrier is survived by his brother, Jerry Ferrier; a sister, Mildred Ferrier and a nephew, Nick Ferrier.
Entombment will be at St. Matthew Cemetery, Conshohocken.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103