In Memoriam: Rev. Albert J. Smith, Jr., OSFS

Rev. Albert J. Smith, Jr., OSFS, professed member of the Wilmington-Philadelphia Province of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales for 63 years, died on Thursday, December 27, 2018.

Father was born in Philadelphia, PA, on July 15, 1936, the son of the late Albert J. and Caroline E. Werneth Smith. He attended St. Bonaventure Elementary School and was a 1954 graduate of Northeast Catholic High School for Boys, Philadelphia. He entered the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in June 1954 and professed first vows at the end of his postulancy and novitiate on September 7, 1955. He made perpetual profession on November 27, 1958 and was ordained to the priesthood on February 6, 1965. Father completed a B.A. in philosophy and an M.S. in Biology at Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. He also earned an M.Div. at De Sales School of Theology, Hyattsville, MD.

Throughout his 19 years in secondary education, he served at Bishop Duffy High School, Niagara Falls, NY, Bishop Ireton High School, Alexandria, VA, and Father Judge High School, Philadelphia. Following a three-year stint as Vocations Director for the Wilmington-Philadelphia province, Fr. Al spent the next 18 years as Campus Minister/Chaplain at Holy Family University, Philadelphia.

Fr. Al was a man of many interests, most prominent of which included barbershop/choral singing, swimming, t’ai chi, yoga, Christian clowning and studying the relationship between Eastern and Western spiritualities. He was a fixture at two Catholic wellness centers: Our Lady of Lourdes in Collingswood, NJ and Medical Mission Sisters in Fox Chase, PA.

Throughout his many years as an Oblate and a priest, a quote from an article written in 2006 on the occasion of his retirement from Holy Family University sums up his life: “All the pursuits in which Father Al engaged have had two central themes in common which have long defined his life’s work – his being there for others and enabling others and himself to become more aware of God’s loving presence.”

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 AM on Monday, December 31, 2018, at Our Lady of Light Chapel, 1120 Blue Ball Road, Elkton, MD, where visitation will be held from 9:00 AM until 10:45 AM. Interment will follow in the Oblate Cemetery.

In honor of Fr. Al’s life and legacy, donations may be made to the Oblate Development Fund, 2200 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806.