Fr. John Mannion asked that the faithful be evangelized at his funeral

Fr. John Patrick Mannion’s brother priests carry his body down the steps of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Tuesday morning, Nov. 17. (Advance photo)

Fr. John Patrick Mannion is evangelizing even after his passing.

“Fr. Mannion left very clear instructions concerning his funeral Mass,” Father Patrick York said at the funeral homily Tuesday morning in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

“One, he was not to be eulogized, so therefore, those remarks are the last remark’s I will make concerning Fr. Mannion. Two, he wanted the preacher, whoever that might be, to preach on the church’s teaching concerning purgatory and the resurrection of the dead.”

Fr. York said over the years he has been known to “canonize’ his share of individuals who have gone on to their eternal reward.

“I’m always very quick to say that Mrs. Smith was a practical Catholic and so, therefore, she would want us to pray for the repose of her soul, not canonize her – to have Masses said for her eternal happiness,” he said. “And then I would go on and eulogize or darn near canonize her to make everybody feel comfortable and at peace.”

Like most people, he shares nice things about a person at the funeral, Fr. York said. “I hope and pray that somebody will say something nice about me at my funeral.”

No ‘canonization’ at funeral

Complying with Fr. Mannion’s request, Fr. York quoted St. Francis of Assisi’s teaching about purgatory.

“Purgatory is different for every soul. The soul may commit the same sin as another and yet his purgatory may be completely different according to his propensity to serve self or God. The one who slips into sin without remorse and does not repent until his deathbed suffers greatly in the flames of purgatory. The one who is weak in sin, but tries to overcome his faults suffers less.”

“There are many in the world today who love their own opinions above and beyond what is good and what is evil. They do not recognize Satan’s influence over them. These are the ones who suffer gravely their separation from Divine Love in Purgatory.”

In the light of his own sinfulness and inclinations and desires, Fr. York said he hopes and prays that when it is time for his reckoning that Masses will be offered, the flowers will be at a minimum, that people will pray for the repose of my soul – and one nice thing will be said!

“To have a devotion to the holy souls is a holy and beautiful thought and spiritual disposition. To pray for that one lost souls in purgatory, just waiting for our intercession, is something that we should do on a regular basis,” he said.

Have Masses said for the deceased

Having Masses said for the eternal reward of relatives and friends is spiritually efficacious and uplifting, Fr. York added.

“To presume that a person goes directly to heaven is dangerously close to committing the sin of presumption. We should hope and pray for our eternal reward and we should hope and pray that our time in purgatory will be minimal. So, therefore, it is good for us to use our lives here on earth most especially those moments we were suffering to eliminate as much time as possible in the purgative way.”

Fr. York said several years ago, when he was a much younger priest, there was an individual in one of his parishes who needed a heart transplant.
“It wasn’t looking good. He was in CICU and waiting with the hope that a match would be found. Visiting him in the critical care unit I asked him how he was holding up. He told me that he had used his suffering at one time to hopefully make up for his sinful past.”

It then dawned on him that he should also use that suffering to pray for his family, Fr. York said, especially his children.

It was a beautiful way to suffer and unite himself to the church in waiting, he said, for his brothers and sisters who were awaiting their entry into their eternal reward.

“The resurrection of the dead, of course, is our hope. The resurrection of the dead is a sign that the sting of death no longer applies to us and our lives. The resurrection of the dead should give us the courage to look beyond our present state of life and to look even beyond our own possible suffering in purgatory and hope for that place that has been prepared for those who are faithful.”

Ponder loved ones with the Lord

Fr. York said it should bring a smile to our face and a tear to our eyes when we think about our loved ones in heaven and how they are hopefully enjoying the beatific vision in the company with all the angels and saints.

“The church’s teaching on purgatory in our opportunity prepare ourselves for the resurrection of the dead with joy – it makes good spiritual sense and practice,” he said.
Fr. Mannion’s last request was that the homily be short, Fr. York added.

“So that’s it. May his good soul rest in peace. May his soul, if not already there, be one day soon in the arms of our eternal Father and in the heart of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And may all the souls of the faithful departed most especially for that one lost soul through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.”

Fr. Mannion died Nov. 10

Fr. John Patrick Mannion, a priest of the Diocese of Wichita for 65 years, died Tuesday, Nov. 10. He was 90.
A rosary was prayed for him Monday evening, Nov. 16.

Fr. Mannion was born on Feb. 11, 1930, in El Dorado to Mr. and Mrs. William R. Mannion. He attended St. John School in El Dorado and Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Missouri. He attended El Dorado Junior College from 1947 to 1949 and graduated from Rockhurst College in Kansas City in 1951. He graduated from Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1955.

Father Mannion was ordained on March 26, 1955, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita by Bishop Mark K. Carroll.

He first served as an associate at Church of the Magdalen in Wichita. In 1960 he was named an associate at St. Mary Parish in Newton, and in 1963 was assigned as an associate at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The next year Fr. Mannion was assigned as the administrator of Sacred Heart Parish in Arkansas City. A few months later, in July, he was named as pastor of St. Mary Parish in Moline.

In 1971, after seven years in Moline, Fr. Mannion became pastor of St. Michael Parish in Girard. He returned to Wichita in 1972 to become pastor of Church of the Magdalen. Seven years later he was named pastor of St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Schulte.

Studied canon law

In 1988 Fr. Mannion began studies for a licentiate in canon law at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. He was awarded the degree in 1990 and afterward served as Defender of the Bond and as a judge in the diocesan Tribunal office.

On Sept. 4, 1990, he was named administrator of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Wichita. He was assigned as pastor of St. Mark Parish, St. Mark, on Dec. 10, 1990.

Fr. Mannion retired on June 1, 2000, but continued work in the Tribunal Office.