Genovese, Father Paul Francis

1992, July 27

Date of Birth: 1919, April 28

October 14, 1994

In late March of 1992, Father Paul (Tony) Genovese was admitted to St. Joseph’s Hospital with a bout of pneumonia. He spent three weeks in the hospital before being released; and he returned twice to the hospital with respiratory problems in May and early July. Two weeks later he was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital for the fourth time since March with severe respiratory condition.

On July 27, 1992 at 5:00 p.m. in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Towson, MD, Father Paul Francis Genovese went peacefully into eternal life supported by the grace of the sacraments, the blessing of many members of the clergy, and the prayers of his Sulpician confreres. He was seventy-three years of age and had been ordained forty-seven years.

The youngest of eight children, four girls and four boys, born to Italian parents, Dominic and Mary Fratantuono Genovese, Paul Francis was born April 28, 1919 in Baltimore, MD. The family were members of St. Patrick’s parish, Fells Point, when young Paul entered St. Charles College in September 1933. His father, Dominic Genovese, died of a heart attack in January 1933, just eight months before Paul began his studies at St. Charles College.

Paul Genovese’s early schooling was at St. Patrick’s School, Baltimore 1926-1933, and then later for six years at St. Charles College 1933-1939. In 1939 he entered St. Mary’s Seminary, Paca Street for two years 1939-1941. His mother Mary Fratantunono died suddenly September 11, 1940 from complications following surgery when Paul was beginning his second year at St. Mary’s Seminary. He finished his studies at Paca Street in late spring of 1941 and entered St. Mary’s Seminary, Roland Park, in the fall of 1941. At the end of the first year of wartime acceleration, he was ordained a priest by the Most Reverend John McNamara on March 17, 1945, at the Basilica of the Assumption, Baltimore, MD.

At the time of his entrance to St. Charles College Paul was known as “Frank/Frankie” to his family and “Paul” to his classmates. During his years at St. Charles College he was given the name “Tony” so he has the distinction of having – beside the name Paul – three nicknames: Frank/Frankie and Tony!

Paul began his first teaching assignment in 1945 as a professor of Latin and Religion at St. Charles College, Catonsville, MD just several weeks after his ordination. He also taught Latin and Chant at St. Mary’s Seminary, Paca Street, from September 1946 until June 1948. After three years of teaching, Father Genovese completed his year of Solitude (1947-1948) at St. Mary’s Seminary, Paca Street. He taught at St. Mary’s Seminary, Paca Street, during his Solitude Year. In September 1948 he studied at the Angelicum in Rome and received his doctorate in theology in 1949.

Upon completion of his studies at the Angelicum, young Father Genovese was assigned to the first Sulpician faculty at St. John’s Provincial Seminary, Plymouth, MI (1949-1959) where he remained for ten years teaching Fundamental Theology, Sacramental Theology, and Liturgy. In September of 1959, he was assigned to St. Mary’s Seminary, Roland Park to teach Sacramental Theology and to serve as Academic Dean for three years (1959-1962).

Father Genovese in late spring of 1962 asked the permission of the Provincial, Father Lloyd P. McDonald, S.S., to accept an assignment as associate pastor in his archdiocese of incardination and received approval to work at St. John the Evangelist parish, Frederick, MD for a period of two years. During the late spring of 1964, he asked to return to a seminary assignment and was appointed to Theological College at the Catholic University of America as treasurer. He remained in that post for a period of four years (1964-1968). He decided shortly after the first of the year 1968 that, for one reason or another, he did not wish, to continue in seminary work; yet wished to retain his affiliation with the Society of Saint-Sulpice.

After extensive consultation with Sulpician and Archdiocesan authorities, Father Genovese sought permission to accept a parish assignment in the Archdiocese of Washington. So, in July of 1968, Father Genovese became associate pastor at St. Patrick’s parish, Norbeck, MD. He remained there until 1975, when serious illness forced his early retirement at the age of 56. He was operated on for removal of a lung which was diagnosed as cancerous.

During the next few years, Paul continued to take one day at a time, determined to take each day fully and as a gift from God. He took up residence with his sister, Nettie, and her husband in Baltimore County, MD. When it became obvious that there would not be the cure he desired, he was able to express a strong belief that there are many kinds of miracles, one of which is calm resignation to God’s will. His good friend, Monsignor Charles “Buck” Muth asked Paul to offer Mass at his parish at St. Jane Frances in Pasadena, MD whenever he was able. The two found themselves on the golf course weekly and became involved in the “Cenacles of the Marian Movement of Priests” (religious and laity). They also became weekly participants at various prayer groups at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen and Shrine of the Little Flower and became members of the Divine Mercy Community. He prayed daily to our Blessed Mother for the members of the Society and its apostolate.

Father Genovese with deep concern, became heavily involved in restoring devotion to Our Lady, Sedes Sapientiae and to making popular, once again, the statue in her honor. The old mold for the statue had been destroyed in a fire in Philadelphia in the summer of 1991. He sought an appointment with the Provincial to speak with him about having a new casting of the Sedes Sapientiae so that we would have a mold owned and controlled by the Provincial House. He spoke to Father Brown of his great love for the Church and for the Priests of St. Sulpice. He shared his deep concern as well for the priesthood and the Church. After numerous phone calls and contacts and through the assistance of Joe Reynolds, Father Genovese was able to locate a firm in the Hampden area (just a few miles south of St. Mary’s) that would fire the mold for the Sedes Sapientiae. He requested immediately that we have three statues cast so that he could give one to Archbishop Keeler (Archbishop of Baltimore), Cardinal Hickey (Archbishop of Washington), and one for display at the Marian Conference to be held in the fall of 1992 in Baltimore. Even as he suffered with several illnesses, Father Genovese was responsible for the casting and selling of several more statues of Our Lady.

Father Genovese was a quiet, soft-spoken, gentle person with strong convictions. He was an excellent teacher and a creative and competent organizer. He exercised leadership, often in a manner so quiet and unobtrusive that it was not always evident. Despite his many years of illness and concerns for the Society and the priesthood, his unfailing sense of humor, coupled with his devotion to Our Lady, Sedes Sapientiae and his abandonment to Providence, resulted in a most even-tempered, tranquil spirit.

Since he lived with his sister and outside a Sulpician house for sixteen years, his family requested that his body lay in state and that the Mass of Christian Burial be celebrated at the Shrine of the Little Flower Church, the parish where, forty-two years earlier, young Tony worked as a seminarian while at Paca Street. Archbishop William Keeler of Baltimore was the principal celebrant of the Mass and the homily was delivered by his close friend, Monsignor Charles (“Buck”) Muth. Burial was in the Sulpician Cemetery in Catonsville, MD, July 30, 1992.

Joseph M. Reynolds

Executive Assistant to the Provincial