1927 – 2015 (November 18)
Neil Joseph McGettigan was born on June 21, 1927, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph McGettigan and Mary Quigley. He had five brothers and two sisters. Neil was baptized on July 10, 1927, at Saint Gabriel Church, Norwood, PA, and attended Saint Francis de Sales Parish School and West Philadelphia Catholic High School. After graduation in 1945, he was admitted as a postulant to Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, for the 1945-1946 academic year, and was received as a novice on September 9, 1946, at New Hamburg, New York. He professed simple vows on September 10, 1947, and then began studies at Villanova College, from which he received his Bachelors Degree in Philosophy in 1950. He pursued his theological course at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., from 1950 to 1954, and also received an MA in English Literature from The Catholic University of America. He professed solemn vows on September 10, 1950, and was ordained to the priesthood on September 8, 1953, at Saint Thomas of Villanova Church, by John Cardinal O'Hara, Archbishop of Philadelphia.
Father Neil's first assignment, in 1954, was to Saint John of Sahagun Friary, Washington, D.C., where he taught for one year at Archbishop Carroll High School. He then was assigned to Saint Joseph Friary, Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, with a teaching assignment to Msgr. Bonner High School. During this period he also pursued graduate studies in English Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1964, Father Neil was assigned to Our Mother of Good Counsel Monastery and Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts, where he was Assistant Professor of English for ten years, Dean of Freshmen, from 1968 to 1970, and Assistant Director of Liberal Arts, from 1970 to 1974. In 1974, he was transferred to Casa San Lorenzo and Biscayne College, Miami, Florida, where he was Assistant Professor of English. In the period 1975 – 1976, he studied at Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Canada, and received an MA in Pastoral Counseling. He was assigned to Saint Augustine Friary, Casselberry, Florida, in 1976, and ministered in the office of campus ministry at Stetson University, Deland, and Florida Technological University, Orlando. Father Neil was assigned to parish ministry at Immaculate Conception Parish, Hoosick Falls, New York, in 1978; to Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, Jamaica, New York, in 1979; and in 1980 as associate pastor at Saint Augustine Parish, Troy, New York. During this time he studied at the New York Theological Seminary, New York, and received a D. Min. in Pastoral Counseling.
In 1988 he was appointed the Province's Director of Communications, which position he held until 1990, and served as a Residence Life Minister at Villanova University. For a number of years in the 1980s, Father Neil served as a spiritual director and team member of various associations, such as the Cursillo Movement, Residents Encounter Christ, and Emmaus Journey for Married Couples.
In July, 1988 Father Neil was assigned to Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova, Pennsylvania. In 1990, he was appointed to the faculty of Villanova University, where he taught in the English Department. He remained at the Villanova Monastery until March 2015, when because of declining health, he was transferred to Arden Courts of King of Prussia, PA. He returned to the Villanova Monastery on November 17, 2015, and passed away in the early morning of November 18, 2015, at the age of 88. Father Neil had been professed 68 years and a priest 62 years.
A viewing preceded the Mass of Christian burial, which was celebrated on November 23, 2015. at Saint Thomas of Villanova Church. Father Neil is buried at the Augustinian Plot at Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, Pa.