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Deacon Edward J. Whelan, who served in the Arlington Diocese for 19 years, died Dec. 8

Deacon Edward J. Whelan Jr., a deacon at St. Matthew Church in Spotsylvania since 1997, died Dec. 8 at age 74.

He was born Dec. 25, 1941, in the Bronx, N.Y., one of six children of Edward and Rita Whelan. He graduated from St. Helena’s High School and served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1959 to 1963. Deacon Whelan was married to Mary Astarita for 56 years. They met when he was 14 years old.

He was ordained a deacon in 1983 for the Paterson, N.J. Diocese. He and Mary lived in Dover, N.J. for 27 years and were active in Sacred Heart Parish. 

Father Paul Eversole, pastor of St. Matthew Church, said Deacon Whelan was kind and had an outgoing, gregarious personality, and a great ability to tell stories and Irish jokes.

“He was very much committed to the social justice teachings of the church and his great heroes in the faith were Pope John XXIII and Thomas Merton,” said Father Eversole. “He was committed to serving the poor and he was devoted to the works of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.”

Deacon Whelan is survived by his wife, Mary, and his children, Edward F. Whelan III, Jeanne Santucci, Angela Richner, Beth O’Sullivan and Jeff Whelan; 14 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

Visitation will be Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. at Covenant Funeral Service, 4801 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Fredericksburg. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered Dec. 14 at 9:30 a.m. at St. Matthew Church, 8200 Robert E. Lee Dr., Spotsylvania.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016