Msgr. Edward P. Browne Dies; Served Virginia Catholics for 51 Years

Msgr. Edward P. Browne, who served Catholics in the Richmond and Arlington Dioceses for more than 51 years, died Aug. 14 at the age of 77. Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde celebrated the funeral Mass on Aug. 17 at St. Michael Church in Annandale. Father Patrick Holroyd, pastor of St. Mark Parish in Vienna, was the homilist. Interment followed at Fairfax Memorial Park. "God’s people gather in times of joy and sorrow," said Bishop Loverde. "So, too, do we priests support each other in good times and bad." Msgr. Browne cared for God’s people and he loved being a priest, said the bishop. "He was a true New Yorker. He was quick, witty and perceptive." "Ed Browne always wanted to get things going, to get things done," said Father Holroyd. "He knew he wanted to be a priest since he was 14." Father Holroyd recalled how Msgr. Browne was "dismissed" from the seminary in New York when he was 19 years old for listening to a radio broadcast of a championship boxing match. He was accepted as a seminarian at Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, where he was recruited by Bishop Peter L. Ireton for the mission territory of Virginia. The first time he set foot in Virginia was after his ordination when he was assigned to St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Arlington, Father Holroyd said. There he joined Msgr. Thomas Scannell, another transplanted New Yorker. He later would replace Msgr. Scannell as pastor at St. Michael Parish. In addition to his love of golf, "Msgr. Browne loved to dance and sing," said Father Holroyd. "He loved being a priest. He worked hard at being a good priest." Msgr. Browne was born June 2, 1925, to Thomas and Nora Browne in Long Island City, N.Y. He had five older brothers and a younger sister, Alice. After attending Cathedral College Seminary in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, he was ordained on June 9, 1951, for the Richmond Diocese. At his first assignment as parochial vicar at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Arlington, he began a kindergarten program at the school. Msgr. Browne then served as parochial vicar at St. Paul Parish in Portsmouth, and was administrator of the parishes of St. Therese in Portsmouth; Sacred Heart in Hot Springs; St. Joseph in Martinsburg, W.Va.; and St. Andrew in Roanoke. He was then made pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Clifton Forge; followed by a pastorate at the parishes of St. John in Waynesboro; St. Rita in Alexandria; St. Bernadette in Springfield; and St. Michael in Annandale, beginning on Feb. 1, 1986. He oversaw the construction of the new church at St. Bernadette Parish during his tenure there. Msgr. Browne served on the diocesan Priests’ Council, as a diocesan consulter, director of the women’s council, superintendent of schools and on the personnel committee. He also occasionally coached diocesan high school sports teams when there were no instructors on staff. At some of the parishes where he served, he directed construction projects. In 1977, he was installed as a Prelate of Honor by former Arlington Bishop Thomas J. Welsh. Msgr. Browne resided at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Alexandria since his retirement in June 2000.

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