Fr. Edward Doyle to be laid to rest

Retired priest of the diocese was a missionary from Ireland


Father Edward A. Doyle, 82, a retired priest of the Jefferson City diocese, died peacefully on March 3 in New Florence, after a lengthy illness.

The Mass of Christian Burial was to be celebrated on Friday, March 8, at 11 a.m. in St. Clement Church, 21509 MO-161 in St. Clement, near Bowling Green.

Bishop W. Shawn McKnight was to preside, with priests of the Jefferson City diocese concelebrating.

At Fr. Doyle’s request, Father Daniel Merz, a St. Clement native who is pastor of St. George parish in Linn and Our Lady Help of Christians parish in Frankenstein, was to be the chief celebrant and preach the homily.

Burial was to be in the St. Clement Cemetery.

Winding path to Missouri

A native of Ireland, Fr. Doyle was a priest of this diocese for over 53 years.

He was born on May 23, 1936, in Dublin, a son of the late Edward Michael and Grace Violet (Arnold) Doyle.

He attended St. Conleth’s College in Dublin from 1943-53.

He was a member of the St. John Ambulance Brigade from 1949-53.

He joined the Legion of Mary at age 16 and remained active in that organization throughout his life.

In March 1952, he joined the Cúltaca an Airm (FCA), the Irish local defense force. He was commissioned in June 1956 and retired in September 1957.

During this time, he worked at Browne & Nolan Printing Company in Clonskeagh, Dublin, as a managerial trainee, from 1953-57.

He entered seminary formation as a Dominican novice at St. Mary’s Dominican Priory in 1957.

He often said the Dominicans gave him discipline in his intellectual and spiritual life.

In 1961, Bishop Joseph M. Marling C.PP.S., founding bishop of the Jefferson City diocese, accepted Fr. Doyle for future service in this diocese.

The future priest transferred to St. Patrick’s College in Carlow, Ireland, to complete his theological studies in 1964.

On June 6 of that year, in the Cathedral of the Assumption in Carlow, Bishop Thomas Keogh of Kildare & Leighlin in Ireland ordained him to the Holy Priesthood.

A full Priesthood

Fr. Doyle’s pastoral assignments included:

  • Assistant pastor, St. Joseph parish in Jefferson City — July 31, 1964-September 8, 1965
  • Spanish language and Peruvian culture studies at the St. James Language School in Lima, Peru — Nov. 4, 1965-March 21, 1966
  • Assistant Pastor, San Salvador parish in Capachica, Peru — March 21, 1966-March 26, 1969
  • Pastor, St. Bonaventure parish, Marceline and St. Joseph parish, Hurricane Branch — Oct. 1, 1969-July 15, 1978
  • Pastor, St. Clement parish, St. Clement — July 15, 1978-July 15, 1987
  • Pastor, Immaculate Conception parish Montgomery City and Church of the Resurrection parish in Wellsville — July 15, 1987-Feb. 2, 1992
  • Independent Ministry, with service in the Cayman Islands — 1993-94
  • Hispanic ministry, nursing home and prison ministry, and weekend fill-in supply help — 1992-2006
  • Retired — May 24, 2006, with continued fill-in service for priests in parishes throughout Missouri and ministering to several specific groups in the Local Church, including prison residents, nursing home residents, hospital patients and Spanish-speaking Catholics.

Always a missionary

In Peru, Fr. Doyle served as a religion teacher in Capachica Peninsula schools from 1966-68.

He and other missionaries helped build the road to Capachica and other projects that assisted in the development of the lives of the people there, in addition to attending to their sacramental and other needs.

When he returned from Peru in 1969, Bishop Michael F. McAuliffe, now deceased, appointed him to parish work.

He continued his passion for educating young people at all of his parish assignments and was a member of the National Catholic Education Association.

In Marceline, he worked to open a kindergarten at Fr. McCartan Memorial School.

When he arrived in Montgomery City, Immaculate Conception School had been closed for 18 years.

He and parishioners worked tirelessly to accomplish the school’s reopening in August 1991.

While stationed there, he also took part in “The Mustard Seed” radio program each Sunday on KMCR in Montgomery City, beginning in 1987.

Community service

Fr. Doyle was actively involved in the ministerial alliances in each community he served.

He was a member of Rotary International for 43 years, joining while in Marceline in 1969, continuing in Bowling Green and becoming a chapter member of the club in Montgomery City.

He was a board member of the former St. Francis Hospital in Marceline from 1975-78.

He was a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the United States’ oldest Irish Catholic fraternal organization, from 1998-2018, serving for several years as chaplain.

A railroad enthusiast, he belonged to the Columbia Train Collectors Association and was a charter member of the Warrenton Central MO Railroad Association.

He worked with the Humane Society of Montgomery City from 1998 until shortly before his death.

Fr. Doyle was also involved in several community theater productions, including roles of Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol,” the Wizard and guard in “The Wizard of Oz,” and the mayor’s secretary in “The Pied Piper of Hamlin.”

He participated in the Sunday Mass broadcast each week in Marceline from 1972-78.

After joining the Knights of Columbus in 1978, he became a Fourth Degree Knight in 1980 and served as chaplain of several Knights councils.

He was involved in Cursillo, Residents Encounter Christ, Teens Encounter Christ and Marriage Encounter Catholic renewal movements, serving as spiritual director on many weekends.

He established a Perpetual Adoration Chapel in St. Clement Church in March 1986.

He was a member of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, taking a keen interest in the installation of the handcrafted pipe organ in St. Clement Church.

He was passionate about making the celebration of the Eucharist as beautiful as it could be, with parishioners participating to the best of their ability.

He was an avid soccer and Gaelic football fan and had been an adept player.

Eternal rest

Longtime friend and Montgomery City parishioner Diann Witthaus noted that Fr. Doyle was very Scripture-based in his teaching and preaching and often pointed to the lives of the saints as role models.

“He loved and served God through his ministry,” she stated. “He was ordained to bring God to man and man to God.”

“No one proclaimed the Gospel like Father Ed Doyle proclaimed the Gospel,” said his friend Fr. Merz. “He loved to sing. He loved a good joke. He was interested in the political lessons to be learned from history.

“He had clear opinions and voiced them stridently at times,” Fr. Merz continued. “His tongue was both his strength and weakness. He was faithful and devoted to prayer. He had a huge, sympathetic and loving heart.”

Preceding Fr. Doyle in death were his parents and a brother, Michael Christopher Doyle.

Surviving is a sister, Pamela Brennan of New Etham, London, and several nieces and nephews.

Memorials are suggested to the Ancient Order of Hibernians or to St. Clement School in St. Clement.

Contributing to this article were Monsignor Robert A. Kurwicki, vicar general for the diocese; Lisa Oetting, executive secretary to the bishop; and Jerry and Diane Witthaus of Immaculate Conception parish in Montgomery City.