Reverend P. Paul Brennen

Obituary of Reverend P. Paul Brennen

The Rev. P. Paul Brennan, of Owasco, passed away peacefully in his home Thursday May 14, 2021. He was 87. Born in Auburn and raised on Paul Street, Father Brennan was at the nexus of a loving family of Irish citizens, immigrants and descendants who now extend across the globe from their roots in counties Sligo and Cork. He was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest in 1959 at his home parish of Holy Family and retired in 2016 after 57 years of active ministry. His service as a priest and pastor in the Diocese of Rochester took him to St. Michael's Church in Penn Yan, St. John's in Spencerport, Immaculate Conception in Rochester and Sacred Heart/St. Ann's in Owasco. He attended seminary at St. Andrew's and St. Bernard's in Rochester, graduating with a Master of Divinity upon ordination. He earned a Doctor of Ministry from Colgate Rochester Crozier Divinity School in 1985. At Immaculate Conception, then located in a racially segregated neighborhood, he worked with parishioners and neighbors to advance the causes of civil rights and social justice. He adopted a liturgy that helped establish the parish as "Rochester's Black Catholic Church" and served the community to help spark the "Corn Hill Renaissance." Upon his retirement from the Diocese, Father Brennan began a second ministry as a chaplain and counselor at Willard Drug Treatment Center and celebrated Mass at Five Points Correctional Facility, both in Seneca County. Well into his 70s, he fully embraced Willard's Shock Incarceration treatment model with a flat-top haircut and morning runs. Physically fit with a full head of thick hair, Father Brennan often eschewed his black shirt and collar for clothes in subdued but current styles. Nevertheless, he emanated a profound and calming spirituality with a combination of intellect and humility. He loved to cook, watch British comedies on Public Broadcasting and read books on such topics as philosophy, anthropology and history. He held a deep appreciation for skilled craftsmanship, fine art and quality wine. He was neither an introvert nor extrovert. He was a gracious host with a loud and easy laugh who enjoyed long periods of solitude in quiet reflection and prayer. His favorite pastime was "looking at the ocean" of his beloved Owasco Lake. Father Brennan was predeceased by his father, Peter and mother, Mary Brennan; his sister, M. Attracta Flanigan, of Rochester, and brother, John "Jocko" Brennan, of Auburn. He is survived by his sister-in-law, Mary H. Brennan, of Auburn; 10 nephews and nieces and their spouses; 48 great and great-great nephews and nieces; scores of cousins in the United States, Ireland and Australia; and hundreds of friends A funeral Mass will be held Thursday, May 20, 2021 in Sacred Heart Church, 90 Melrose Rd., Auburn, NY at 11 a.m. Interment will follow in St. Joseph's Cemetery. A visitation will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. prior to the funeral Mass at 11 a.m. in Sacred Heart Church. Memorials may be remembered to either the Owasco Lake Watershed, PO Box 1, Auburn, NY 13021 or the Andrew J. Speer Scholarship Fund '91, c/o Aquinas Institute, 1127 Dewey Ave., Rochester, NY 14613 or the Carm Urzetta Scholarship Fund, c/o Bishop Kearney High School, 125 Kings Hwy. S, Rochester, NY 14617.
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