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Daniel J. Hartigan, O.S.A.

1917 – 2017 (February 17)

Daniel Joseph Hartigan was born June 15, 1917 in Boston, Massachusetts to David F. and Julia Hartigan.  He was baptized June 17, 1917 at St. Vincent Church, South Boston, Massachusetts, and received the Sacrament of Confirmation October 16, 1929 at St. Augustine Church, South Boston. Daniel graduated in 1934 from Boston Trade School, Boston. He worked for two years as a printer, and in 1936 entered the formation program at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, where he studied Latin for one year. He was received into the novitiate on September 9, 1937, professed simple vows in the Order on September 10, 1938 and solemn vows on September 10, 1941.  He earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Villanova College, Villanova, Pennsylvania, in 1942, and then pursued theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C. He received an M.A. in 1946, and was ordained to the priesthood on May 22, 1945. 

Father Hartigan went on to earn an M.S. in Mathematics from Catholic University of America, Washington in 1946, an M.Ed. from Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois, in 1959 and an Ed. D. from Loyola in 1962. He did additional studies in Psychology at Loyola University. He was assigned in 1946 to St. Rita High School, Chicago, as a teacher.  When Mendel Catholic High School, Chicago, opened its doors in 1951, Father Hartigan was assigned as a member of its original faculty.
In 1960 he was transferred to Tolentine College, Olympia Fields, Illinois, as a teacher and counselor.  At the same time, he was named Superintendent of Schools for the Augustinian Secondary School system of the Midwest Province.  From 1963 to 1968, he was also Principal of Mendel Catholic High School.  He served as prior of Mendel Monastery from 1968 to 1974, and was inducted into the Mendel Hall of Fame in 2001.

Father Hartigan became a Certified Alcoholism Counselor and a Registered Psychologist in the State of Illinois. Beginning in 1974, he was employed by the City of Chicago, Department of Health, first as a Clinical Psychologist, and from 1976 to 1993 as Psychologist and Director of the city’s Mid-South Mental Health Center.  During these years he resided at Mendel Monastery, Chicago, until 1988, then at St. Rita Monastery, Chicago. When he retired from the Bureau of Mental Health in 1993, he joined the St. Clare of Montefalco Community, Chicago, where he also was prior until 2002.  He was transferred to St. Monica Monastery, Chicago, where he was named prior in 2006, and served in this office until 2010.

Father Hartigan was assigned to St. Nicholas of Tolentine Monastery, Olympia Fields, in April 2010, and when Bl. Stephen Bellesini Friary was established at Franciscan Village, Lemont, Illinois, in July of that year, Father Hartigan was assigned as a member of the community there.
  In August 2014, Bl. Stephen Bellesini Friary was relocated to Indiana, and Father Hartigan moved to Mercy Circle, a health care facility on Chicago’s South Side. As he aged, Father Hartigan gradually grew weaker, until he died at Mercy Circle on February 17, 2017. At age 99 years, eight months, he was the eldest Augustinian in the United States and Canada. He is buried in the Augustinian plot at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Alsip, Illinois.

Father Hartigan is remembered as a faithful, approachable and caring Augustinian.  As an administrator, he was open to trying new things to enhance the learning experiences of his students.

 

John T. Denny, O.S.A.

1957 – 2016 (June 20)

John Thomas Denny was born on October 19, 1957, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He was one of seven sons and one daughter of Joseph G. Denny and Mary K. Schubert. John was baptized at Saint Laurence Church, Upper Darby, Pa., on November 3, 1957, and attended Saint Laurence Parish School from 1963 to 1971. He then entered Monsignor Bonner High School, Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, and graduated in 1975. From 1975 to 1979, he attended Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, where he received a BA in History. He entered the Order at Good Counsel Novitiate, Lawrence, Massachusetts, in August, 1980, but withdrew the following March.

George P. Lawless, O.S.A.

1930 – 2016 (March 9)

George Patrick Lawless was born on September 26, 1930, in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of George P. Lawless and Margaret J. McGinley, and one of five brothers and three sisters. He was baptized on October 5, 1930, at Our Mother of Consolation Church, Chestnut Hill, and attended the parish school from 1935 to 1943, and Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, as a postulant, from 1943 to 1947. He was received into the Order as a novice on September 9, 1947, and professed simple vows on September 10, 1948. He then attended Villanova College, and received a BA in Philosophy in 1952, having professed solemn vows on September 10, 1951. He went to Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., for his theological studies, during the period 1952 to 1956, and, at the same time, studied at the Catholic University of America, where he received an MA in Latin and Greek. He was ordained to the priesthood on February 4, 1956, at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC, by Bishop John McNamara.
 
Father Lawless was assigned to teach at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, during the 1956-1957 academic year. He was transferred in 1957 to Saint Mary's Hall, Villanova, and in 1958, became a member of the Saint Thomas Monastery community there. He taught at Villanova University and also studied at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received an MA in Classical Studies in 1963. In 1968 he was appointed to Our Mother of Good Counsel Monastery and Merrimack College, where he taught in the Religious Studies Department from 1968 until 1975. During this time he attended Princeton Theological Seminary and received a ThM in Ecumenics and Ethics. In 1975 he was named prior of Augustinian College, Washington, D.C. He was assigned briefly, in 1979, to Saint John of Sahagun Friary, Washington, and, in 1980 to the Collegio Santa Monica, Rome, where he taught at the Augustinianum, the Order's Patristic Institute, from 1980 to 2011. He received his doctorate from the Angelicum, Rome, in 1985. He also taught at the Angelicum as adjunct professor, and at the Gregorian University until 2005. In 2009, Father George received a Doctorate in Augustinian Studies, honoris causa, from Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts. In January 2012, due to declining health, he returned to his home Province and was assigned to St. Thomas of Villanova Monastery, Villanova, PA.

Father George was the author of many articles and books, and gave many retreats, conferences and workshops on Saint Augustine, his Rule, and his writings. Always an articulate speaker, he was known for his skill for turning a phrase with flair and elegance, and bringing humor, through his speech, into even the most scholarly discussions and conversations.

After an extended decline in health, Father George Lawless passed over to the Lord on Wednesday afternoon, March 9, 2016, in his room at Saint Thomas of Villanova Monastery, Villanova, Pa., in his eighty-fifth year and the sixty-eighth of his religious profession. A wake preceded his funeral Mass on Monday, March 14, 2016 at the Church of Saint Thomas of Villanova. A Mass of Christian Burial followed. Father George is buried at the Augustinian Plot, Calvary Cemetery, Conshohocken, Pa. 

Neil J. McGettigan, O.S.A.

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.

Joseph A. Jordan, O.S.A.

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1930 – 2015 (August 20)

Joseph Andrew Jordan was born on September 28, 1930, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, one of two sons and one daughter of John Jordan and Cecilia McGuigan. He was baptized on October 12, 1930, at Saint Monica Church, Philadelphia, and attended Saint Monica Parochial School. From there he attended West Catholic High School, Philadelphia, from 1944 to 1948, and afterward worked briefly as a clerk in an engineering firm. In 1949 he entered Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, as a post-graduate postulant. He was received into the Order as a novice on September 8, 1951, and following his year at Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, New York, made first profession of vows on September 10, 1952. He then attended Villanova University, from 1952 to 1955, and obtained a BA in Philosophy. He professed solemn vows on September 10, 1955. Joseph then attended Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., where he pursued theological studies from 1955 to 1959. During the summer months he returned to Villanova where he obtained an MA in Religion in 1959. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 7, 1958, at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC, by Bishop John McNamara.
 
Fr. Jordan’s first assignment, in 1959, was to Monsignor Bonner High School, Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, where he taught for twenty-four years, until 1983. He was then assigned to parochial ministry at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Staten Island, New York, as associate pastor. He remained there until November, 1990, when he was assigned to Saint Thomas of Villanova Monastery, Villanova, Pennsylvania, and was appointed to serve in the Province’s Development Office, as Director of the Augustinian Seminary Guild, the Office for Foreign Missions and Collector of Masses. In 2002 he was appointed treasurer of Saint Thomas of Villanova Monastery. In 2006 he completed his service to the Province in these areas, but continued to be actively engaged in parish weekend ministry at St. Theresa of Avila Parish in Audubon, where he assisted from 1991 to 2014. He reluctantly withdrew from this assignment only when his health began to diminish.
 
Fr. Jordan is numbered among the many friars of the Province who worked quietly and diligently in the various responsibilities entrusted to him, faithful to the very last to the diverse components of community life. Fr. Jordan died peacefully in St. Thomas of Villanova Monastery in the early hours of the morning of Thursday, August 20, 2015. 
 
A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated at the church of St. Thomas of Villanova, preceded by a viewing in the church. Father Jordan is buried in the Augustinian plot at Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

Robert E. Steinman, O.S.A.

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1923 – 2015 (June 15)

Robert Edward Steinman, was born on January 3, 1923, in Reading, Pennsylvania, one of two sons of Otto M. Steinman and Anne Gibney, and was baptized in the same city on January 14, 1923, at Saint Margaret Church. He attended Saint Gabriel's Parish School, Norwood, Pennsylvania, from 1928 to 1934, Southern Junior High School, from 1934 to 1935, and Mount Penn High School, Reading, from 1935 to 1940. Following High School graduation, he attended State Teachers College, Kutztown, Pennsylvania and was employed in a boiler factory. In 1942, he entered Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, as a postulant, and on September 9, 1943 was received into the Order as a novice. After a year at Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, New York, he professed first vows on September 10, 1944. He attended Villanova College, from 1944 to 1947, and then Augustinian College, Washington, DC, for his theological studies, until 1951. He professed solemn vows on September 10, 1947, and was ordained to the priesthood on June 6, 1950 at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC, by Bishop John McNamara.
 
Fr. Steinman was assigned, as an instructor, to Archbishop Carroll High School, Washington, DC, in 1951, and remained there until 1964. In 1953 he received an MS in Mathematics from the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. In 1964, Fr. Steinman was assigned to preach retreats and missions throughout the country, as a full time member of the Province's "Mission Band". He continued in this ministry until 1990, with residence in a number of communities: Saint Paul, Mechanicville, New York; Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York; Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova, Our Mother of Good Counsel, Bryn Mawr, Our Mother of Consolation, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, all in Pennsylvania. In 1974 he was once again assigned to Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova, and remained there for the remainder of his life. Even after he retired from the Mission Band, Fr. Steinman continued to be active in ministry at St. Anastasia's parish, Newtown Square, and at Malvern Retreat House for many years.
 
In his later years, Fr. Steinman suffered from failing health, but continued, nonetheless, to participate in the monastery's life at common meals and community Mass, ably maneuvered in his wheel chair by friars and nurse aids. His sense of humor and penchant for telling jokes remained a constant, and his deep, strong, voice, developed over many years as a preacher and speaker filled the dining room when, as the eldest of the community, he was called upon to lead grace before meals in the occasional absence of the prior and sub-prior.
 
Fr. Steinman, known affectionately as "Abe", died in the Villanova Monastery on Monday, June 15, 2015. A wake was held at the St. Thomas Monastery Chapel on the evening of June 21. A wake preceded the funeral Mass, which was celebrated by Prior Provincial Michael Di Gregorio, O.S.A., on Monday June 22, at 10:00 AM at St. Thomas of Villanova Church on the campus of Villanova University. Father Robert Murray, O.S.A. preached. Father Steinman is buried in the Augustinian Plot at Calvary Cemetery in Conshohocken, Pa.

William T. Garland, O.S.A.

1935 – 2015 (June 12)

William Townley Garland was born on November 3, 1935, in Arlington, Massachusetts, the son of William T. Garland and Mary C. Caldwell. He had one sister who pre-deceased him. Bill was baptized on November 24, 1935, at Saint Agnes Catholic Church, Arlington, Massachusetts. He attended Brackett School from 1941 to 1947, and Junior High Centre, 1947 to 1949, both in Arlington, and Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, from 1949 to 1953. He was received into the Order as a novice on September 9, 1953, and after a year at Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, New York, he professed first vows on September 10, 1954. He matriculated at Villanova University from 1954 to 1958, and received a BA in Philosophy. He attended Augustinian College, Washington, DC, from which he obtained his Masters in theology, and, in 1961, a Masters in counseling from the Catholic University of America. He professed solemn vows on September 10, 1957, and was ordained to the priesthood on February 3, 1962, at the Chapel of Christ the Teacher, Merrimack College, North Andover, Mass., by Richard Cardinal Cushing, Archbishop of Boston.
 
Fr. Garland was assigned, in 1962, to Malvern Preparatory School, Malvern, PA, as a teacher and guidance counselor. He was transferred, in 1966, to Our Mother of Good Counsel Monastery, North Andover, Massachusetts, while enrolled in graduate studies, at Harvard University. Here he was awarded a doctorate in Educational Administration. From 1970 to 1974, he was a doctoral intern for educational projects at Arthur D. Little, Inc., a management services consulting firm. From 1974 to 1977, he directed a federal project in teacher training for Westchester, Putnam and Rockland Counties in New York. From 1977 to 1987, he served in the Archdiocese of Boston as the Principal of the newly consolidated East Boston Central Catholic School, and from 1987 to 1991 as Principal of Saint Peter's School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. From 1991 to 1995 he was Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire. From 1995 to 1996 he pursued sabbatical studies at the Catholic University in Louvain, Belgium. 

Upon his return to the United States, and until 2002, he was the Director of Education for the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts. That same year, he was appointed prior of Our Mother of Good Counsel Monastery at Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts, and was elected a counselor of the Province, with special oversight for the Province's secondary and higher education efforts. In that appointment he served on the Boards of Trustees of Villanova University and Merrimack College, and of Malvern Preparatory School, Malvern, Pennsylvania and St. Augustine Preparatory School, Richland, New Jersey. For two years, from 2003 to 2005, he was the Director of Education for the California Province. When the Villanova Province withdrew from the monastery building on the campus of Merrimack College in 2004, he became prior and treasurer of the community at Austin House, the Augustinian residence in North Andover, Massachusetts.
 
Father Garland became seriously ill in May, 2015, and was admitted to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Brighton, Massachusetts. With some improvement he was transferred after several weeks, to Kindred Hospital in Boston. After suffering several serious setbacks, he passed away on the morning of June 12, 2015 in the 60th year of his religious profession and 53rd of priestly ordination.
 
A funeral Mass was celebrated on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, at Saint Augustine Church, Andover, Mass. by Prior Provincial, Michael Di Gregorio, O.S.A. Father Kevin Dwyer, O.S.A. was homilist. Father Garland is buried in the Augustinian Plot at Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Edward E. Doran, O.S.A.

1928 – 2015 (May 10)

Edward Edmund Doran was born on July 7, 1928, in Pittston, Pennsylvania, one of two children of Edmund C. Doran and Alice Whalen. His one sibling became a member of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Scranton and was known as Sister Mary Peter. Edward was baptized on July 15, 1928, at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Pittston, and attended both the parish elementary and high school from 1934 to 1946. In 1950 he was admitted to Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York as a postulant, and was received as a novice of the Order on September 8, 1951.

James L. Nolan, O.S.A.

1920 – 2015 (May 5)

James Lawrence Nolan was born on August 10, 1920, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the only son among five daughters, of Michael Nolan and Margaret Concannon. James was baptized at Our Mother of Consolation Church, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, on August 15, 1920. He attended Our Mother of Consolation Parish School from 1926 to 1934, and Northeast Catholic High School, from 1934 to 1938. Upon graduation, he spent a year as a postulant at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, and was received into the Order as a novice on September 9, 1939. After a year at Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, N.Y., he professed first vows on September 10, 1940, and attended Villanova College, from which he received his BA in Philosophy in 1943. Following profession of solemn vows on September 10, 1943, he went to Augustinian College, Washington, DC, for theological studies, and pursued courses there, as well as at the Catholic University of America. Later, in 1959, he received an MA in Religious Studies from Villanova University. Father Nolan was ordained to the priesthood on August 24, 1946, at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Church, Atlantic City, New Jersey, by Bishop Bartholomew J. Eustace.

Father Nolan was first assigned to Malvern Preparatory School, Malvern, Pa., where he taught from 1947 to 1956. He was next appointed Master of Professed at Augustinian College, from 1956 until 1958. From 1958 to 1959, he taught at Villanova University and was a member of the Saint Thomas Monastery community. In 1959, he returned to teaching at Malvern Preparatory School, where he remained until 1965. There then began for him thirty years of ministry in parishes of the Province as well as in hospital chaplaincy: Saint Genevieve Parish, Flourtown, Pa., from 1965 to 1968; Our Mother of Consolation, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, from 1968 to 1970; Saint Augustine Parish, Philadelphia, from 1970 to 1975; Saint Laurence O'Toole Parish, Lawrence, Massachusetts, from 1975 to 1982; Our Mother of Good Counsel Parish, Bryn Mawr, Pa., from 1982 to 1985. In 1985 he returned to Saint Genevieve Parish, Flourtown, and in 1992 was assigned to Saint Denis Parish, Havertown, Pa.
 
In 1995, Father Nolan was assigned to Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova, Pa., and ministered from there as chaplain to local communities of religious sisters. He was also an eager and devoted driver for friars of the community who needed transportation to medical appointments. He remarked that his father had been a chauffeur to a family in Chestnut Hill and that he continued in his father's work by running a "taxi service" for the friars at the monastery. He reluctantly gave up this work in 2005, at the age of 85. He, nonetheless, continued as an active member of the Saint Thomas Monastery Community. In 2010, he entered the second floor Health Care Facility due to failing health. After a long, gradual, but peaceful decline, he passed over to the Lord on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, a few months shy of his 95th birthday and the 75th anniversary of religious profession.Father Nolan was a friar who cared deeply about his brothers in community, and was a generous and compassionate priest who was ever prepared to minister especially to the sick and the dying. A viewing was held on Tuesday, May 12 at Saint Thomas of Villanova Church, followed at 7:30 PM by a Mass of Christian Burial. Father Nolan is buried in the Augustinian plot at Calvary Cemetery in Conshohocken, Pa. 

Joseph Anthony Spinelli, O.S.A.

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1929 – 2015 (March 10)

Joseph Anthony Spinelli was born on February 2, 1929, in Vineland, New Jersey, the son of Anthony J. Spinelli and Jennie Rita DiLuisi. He was baptized on May 7, 1936, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Vineland, and attended Sacred Heart Parish School and Sacred Heart High School, from 1934 to 1946. He attended Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, for a year of post-graduate studies, after which he was received into the Order as a novice on September 9, 1947. After completing his novitiate year at Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, New York, he professed simple vows on September 10, 1948. He then attended Villanova College, from 1948 to 1951, and was awarded a BA in Philosophy. Joseph pursued theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, DC, from 1951 to 1955, while also doing graduate studies at Villanova University and the Catholic University of America. He professed solemn vows on September 10, 1951, and was ordained to the priesthood on February 5, 1955, at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC, by Bishop John McNamara.

Father Spinelli's first assignment was to Saint Joseph Friary and Msgr. Bonner High School, Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, in 1955. He remained there for twenty-six years as a member of the school faculty. From 1981 to 1983 he served as associate pastor at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish, Dania Beach, Florida. Archbishop McCarthy approved the Prior Provincial's nomination of Father Joe as pastor of Saint Elizabeth Seton Parish, Golden Gate, Florida, and appointed him to assume that office in June, 1983. He labored there for twenty-three years, until 2006. In this expanding region of Florida, he built a new parish church, able to accommodate a congregation of 1200 people. In the entrance to the church, he had inscribed a phrase that summarizes Augustine's Confessions and  spiritual journey, as an encouragement to all people in their spiritual lives: "To fall in love with God is the greatest of loves; to seek Him is the greatest adventure; to find Him is the greatest achievement." Father Joe celebrated the Golden Anniversary of Priesthood at Saint Elizabeth Seton in February, 2005. 
 
Father Spinelli retired from parish ministry in 2006 as his health began to decline, and was assigned to Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova, Pennsylvania. Known for his friendly, outgoing personality, contagious sense of humor, and love for people and community life, he died after a long illness, peacefully and comfortably, during the early morning of March 10, 2015 at the Villanova Monastery. 
 
A wake was held on March 16, 2005 followed by his Funeral Mass at Saint Thomas of Villanova Church. Father Spinelli is buried at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Vineland, New Jersey.