Hogan, Father Edward Joseph

1986, March 26

Date of Birth: 1914, March 26

May 7, 1986

Dear Confrere:

The death during Holy Week of our brother, Edward J. Hogan, brought to a close one of the more varied and active Sulpician careers in our time. At first impression, he could appear rather quiet and aloof. Yet throughout his life he demonstrated rare pastoral sensitivity with people of every age and description. A very peaceful and resigned spirit marked his last few days in striking contrast to the vigor that characterized him but a short time earlier.

Born on March 26, 1914, Edward Joseph Hogan was one of three children of Bernard J. and Katherine (nee McManon) Hogan of Youngstown, Ohio. His sister, Rosemary, died in 1977. His brother, Charles, of Warren, Ohio, and ten nephews and nieces survive him. Deeply devoted to his family, Edward greatly enjoyed vacations with them at the Lake Eire cottage and participated in almost every major family event.

Following his early schooling in Youngstown, he entered St. Charles College in Catonsville in 1931 to begin studies for the priesthood. A gifted student, he was permitted by Bishop Schrembs of Cleveland to continue his studies at St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, in order to prepare for service as a seminary teacher with the Sulpician Fathers. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Cleveland in 1940 and admitted to the Society of St. Sulpice in 1942, by which time he had earned his S.T.D. from St. Mary’s and completed the year of Sulpician formation.

Father Hogan’s teaching career began in the field of philosophy at old St. Mary’s Seminary on Paca Street. Two years later, in 1944, he began a fifteen-year appointment as professor of dogmatic theology at St. Mary’s in Roland Park. His range of abilities and interests was soon evident. As a seminarian he had spent his summers as a counselor at the Cleveland CYO camp, where he was chaplain the first summer after his ordination. Soon he took on the duties of assistant treasurer of the U.S. Sulpicians and, a little later, became a confessor for the Sisters of Divine Providence, who made up the domestic staff of the Baltimore seminaries. Meanwhile he served as the moderator of the Camillus Society, the pioneering forerunner at St. Mary’s of a more formal pastoral training program. In 1957, he was appointed academic dean of the School of Theology at a time when it was first actively seeking accreditation. During this period, he frequently contributed book reviews and articles on spirituality for The Voice, the Seminary’s monthly periodical. Outside the Seminary, he served from 1952 to 1959 as chaplain of a girls’ orphanage, St. Mary’s Villa, where he became known for his constant pastoral concern for the staff and residents.

A new phase of Father Hogan’s Sulpician ministry began in 1959 with his appointment as the second rector of St. John’s Provincial Seminary in Plymouth. Those very strenuous years saw him quickly win the confidence of the Michigan bishops, which helped him to guide faculty and seminarians through the first years of dramatic changes in seminary discipline and priestly formation. There was the early struggle to cope with the Vatican directive to teach all major courses in Latin and to meet the demand for graduate degrees in education so that newly ordained priests could be more useful as teachers. Father Hogan’s zeal for upgrading seminary academic standards involved him in numerous seminary evaluation visits for the Catholic University’s School of Education. As early as 1946, he had been appointed one of three Sulpicians to represent St. Mary’s at the initial organizational meeting of the Catholic Theological Society. In Michigan, he wrestled with the problem of getting St. John’s program understood by the regional accrediting agency, which led to the formation of the Midwest Association of Theological Schools, to which he was elected a member of the initial executive board. He also regularly attended the annual meetings of the seminary department of the National Catholic Education Association and also the national Mariological Society. He presented papers at various times for all these organizations. One paper, “The Theology of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart,” presented to the Catholic Theological Society was published in 1957 and again printed as a pamphlet in 1984.

At St. John’s, Father Hogan also assisted the sponsoring bishops in interpreting the implications of the Second Vatican Council for seminary discipline and liturgical worship at a time when growing student restlessness everywhere added to the frustrations of faculty and seminarians over the fixed style of an age-old priestly formation program. He initiated major changes in curriculum, spiritual exercises, and daily schedules, doing so with a confidence that grew out of the courses on spirituality that he was teaching.

In 1966, Father Hogan was ready to set aside the tensions of seminary administration and he accepted a Sulpician appointment to St. Patrick’s Seminary, Menlo Park, where he taught theology, served as director of the spiritual program, and also as director of an experimental program for the deacon class that included a residence separate from the main building, where he drew on his experience of a program introduced while he was at St. John’s. 

This immersion in pastoral training prompted his re-appointment to St. Mary’s Seminary to introduce an entirely new pastoral program there in accord with Vatican II’s directives. He prepared for that task during a year’s sabbatical in which he visited pastoral programs at a number of Catholic and Protestant seminaries, as well as taking part in an intensive urban training program in Chicago.

Getting the pastoral program established in Baltimore from 1969 to 1971 led to his appointment to another rectorship at St. Thomas Seminary in Seattle. Perhaps the most unusual thing that happened to Father Hogan there as a Sulpician rector was to be appointed pastor at the same time of a newly created parish, St. John Vianney, based at the Seminary. He had to steer both institutions carefully to keep them in reasonable harmony in their use of many of the same facilities. In the following four years, while his frustrations with seminary administration grew, he saw the parish become quickly organized, take a census, write a constitution, form a council, and hold classes in numerous private homes. When he left his pastorate, the people were active and enthusiastic about their new Vatican II parish.

In 1975, Father Hogan was ready to move to a less demanding assignment. His well-honed pastoral institutions were to find other outlets, first, as rector of St. Stephen’s Seminary in Hawaii, which had lost most of its students. He also became one of the chaplains of the U.S. Army’s Tripler Medical Center, while rebuilding a program as diocesan vocation director, serving as a member of the senate of priests and as chaplain of the Honolulu Serra International Club, and additionally starting up a new permanent deacon program for the diocese at the request of the bishop.

All of this activity while he was thoroughly enjoying the Hawaiian lifestyle could obscure the suffering, he endured following a medical diagnosis in October, 1976, that he had Hodgkin’s disease. Consequently, chemotherapy and radiation treatments led to a severe case of shingles, dramatic loss of weight and other physical infirmities for the rest of his life but did not destroy his basic positive attitude about the value of the priesthood or his love of the active life.

While his cancer entered a remarkable period of remission, the toll on his emotional state had been heavy. He had always had to combat temptations to give into moods and his temper and the ravaging illnesses that nearly destroyed him added to those pains. So at 65, Father Hogan retired from active ministry and moved to St. Charles Villa in Baltimore. There were new health problems, including a fall on ice that broke a hip, later a fall and broken shoulder, an accident to an ambulance carrying him to the hospital, and further flare-ups of cancer. Nevertheless, he directed two or three retreats a year for the Little Sisters of the Poor, as he had done much earlier for numerous groups of diocesan priests and women religious, and he frequently went to concerts and restaurants, and paid an occasional visit to the gambling casinos of Atlantic City, which had been a fun outlet for him there and elsewhere for years.

One more pastoral ministry was his to enjoy in the last three years of his life, that of chaplain of the newly developed Charlestown Retirement Community adjacent to St. Charles Villa. Father Hogan accepted and prepared for that responsibility as he had for others throughout his life, by observing other programs, taking university courses, and private study. In the last week of his life he was planning new ways to enhance his pastoral effectiveness.

Death came peacefully on the morning of March 26, 1986, on Father Hogan’s 72nd birthday, Wednesday of Holy Week. As he had requested, his remains lay in state in St. Martin’s Home on Good Friday, where a wake service was led by the Little Sisters of the Poor, and then moved, on Holy Saturday, to the chapel of Our Lady of the Angels at Charlestown, where a final wake service was led by Father Lawrence A. Bender, S.S. A graveside service at the Sulpician cemetery was led by Father Gerald L. Brown, S.S. A memorial Mass was celebrated in the Charlestown chapel on April 9, with Archbishop William D. Borders as principal celebrant and the Rev. Charles P. Dillon, S.S., was the homilist. A memorial Mass was also celebrated on April 2 in St. John Vianney Church in the presence of retired Archbishop Thomas A. Connolly of Seattle.

May Father Edward Hogan live forever in the joy of the Resurrection.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

William J. Lee, S.S.

Provincial Secretary