Société des Missions Africaines –Province des Etats-Unis

MaCROREY Edwards né le 19 juin 1947 à Brighton
dans le diocèse de Boston, USA
membre de la SMA le 14 septembre 1969
prêtre le 16 septembre 1972
décédé le 31 mai 1978

1973-1978 missionnaire au Liberia
1973-1976, vicariat de Cape Palmas
1976-1978, maison d’accueil à Monrovia

décédé à Monrovia, Liberia, le 31 mai 1978,
à l'âge de 31 ans

Father Edward Timothy McCrorey 1947 - 1978)

Edward McCrorey was born in Brighton, Massachusetts, USA, on June 19, 1947
He died in Monrovia, Liberia, on May 31, 1978.

Edward (Ed) was one of seven children born to Patrick Joseph and Bridie (nee Lenihan) McCrorey, of 39 Madeline Street Brighton. He attended Grade School and High School at St. Columbkille’s, Brighton, graduating in 1965. Deciding to become a missionary priest he was admitted to Queen of Apostles Seminary, Dedham, in October 1965. Two years later he commenced his philosophical course at St. Stephen’s College, in Dover, from which he graduated with a BA degree in May 1969. Edward received his theological formation at the Washington Theological Coalition, Silver Spring, MD, earning a Masters degree in Religious Education (awarded 1972). He was received as a permanent member of the Society on January 27, 1972. He was ordained a priest in the Society’s chapel at Tenafly, NJ, Mass by Archbishop Francis Carroll of Monrovia on September 16, 1972.

After ordination Edward was appointed to the Vicariate of Cape Palmas in Liberia. Cape Palmas town was capital of the Kru Coast and had become the seat of a separate prefecture in 1950 when the territory of Liberia was divided into two jurisdictions. Within a year of Edward’s arrival, on December 17, 1973 the Prefecture was erected as a Vicariate under the leadership of Bishop Boniface Nyema Dalieh. Edward worked in the jurisdiction for six years, serving in most of the principal stations including: Zwedru in Grand Gedeh County, Barclayville and Grand Cess on the Kru Coast, Sasstown in Sinoe County and Pleebo in Maryland County. During these years, too, he was able to put his teaching skills to good use, principally in Grand Cess, Barkerville, and Tchien. Edward’s next appointment took him to Monrovia, Liberia’s capital. At that time all missionaries coming to Cape Palmas traveled via Monrovia. The journey, a distance of 450 miles over poor roads and tracks, could often take two to three days. Moreover the port of Monrovia was the major entry point for goods of all description and the main center where goods could be purchased. Increasingly it became clear that a Provincial representative in Monrovia would be of great advantage not only for confreres traveling to and from the Kru Coast, but for provisioning the mission stations in Cape Palmas. It was for this purpose that in November 1971 the American Province opened a Guest House in Monrovia. In July 1977 Edward took charge of this Guest House which was situated behind the Catholic hospital.

His death came suddenly in an automobile accident near Monrovia in May 1978. A few weeks short of his 31st birthday and not yet six years ordained. The Regional Superior of the Irish Province, based in Monrovia, wrote an account of the incident. ‘On the morning of May 31 Edward left the Guest House at 8.00 a.m. to drive to Tchien with some supplies for the school at Zwedru where he intended to take a few days rest. At the road junction to Benthol, about 16 miles from Monrovia, a large tanker either in an effort to avoid a bus coming out from Benthol or in overtaking two cars (the police were not sure) crashed into Father’s small Renault 4 and dragged it about 30 yards. One report says that Father had already stopped. The car was completely destroyed and it is evident that Father must have died on the spot. With difficulty he was taken from the wreckage. The Vice President of Liberia, Bishop Bennie Warner (also Bishop of the Methodist Church in Liberia), came on the scene and, we learned, helped very much. The owners of the truck have accepted full responsibility for the accident…Father was a careful if not an over-cautious driver. But even a skilled driver would have had no chance in the circumstances surrounding the accident.’

He died on a Wednesday. On Sunday his body was brought to the Sacred Heart Cathedral. The wake commenced at 9 p.m. with Mass, with Bishop Dalieh as principal celebrant, assisted by Bishop Michael Francis and eighteen concelebrants. On Monday at 10 a.m. Bishop Michael Francis was principal celebrant at a Requiem Mass and was assisted by Bishop Dalieh and 26 priests. The homily was given by Fr. Gilfether. Edward’s remains were brought back to America and buried in Brookline on Thursday, June 8, after a concelebrated Mass of the Resurrection in St. Columbkille’s Church, Brighton, where he had been baptized.

When Edward was a student the Director of Students described him as ‘a quiet, taciturn young man, not the first to enter a conversation or to initiate friendships. However, there is a real depth to the man. He is quite capable of relating to others. He is generous and cooperative… he has a genuine and sustained interest in helping people …’ An obituary published shortly after his death spoke of his ‘gentlemanliness- and went on: ‘Edward went about his work quietly without any fanfare… As bursar of the Guest House he was the perfect host. All were equally welcome and made to feel at home... For his confreres in Cape Palmas he was untiring in his efforts to answer all their calls and go into the city to try and find all their requirements and have them sent at the earliest possible moment…The new parish of Logantown in Monrovia is named after St. Edward, to honor the memory of Edward McCrorey. Logantown is a densely populated area. The people are poor and many of them are Kru people who knew Ed.’

His older brother Arthur joined the SMA and was ordained a priest on February 2, 1960 remaining a priest but retiring from the active ministry in the 1970’s.

He is buried in Holyhood Cemetery, Brookline, Boston MA, USA.