Fr. Fleming

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Rev. Patrick Joseph Fleming, C.M.

September 23, 1912 - June 11, 2002

Fr. Patrick FlemingPatrick Joseph Fleming was born on September 23, 1912 in Belfast, Ireland, son of the late Samuel Fleming and Mary McVeety. He is survived by his brother, James, nephews and nieces. His brother, John, and his sisters, Mary (Coogan), Anna (Hayden) and Margaret, predeceased him.

Early Education

Pat attended primary school at St. Mary, Star of the Sea, in Brooklyn, NY. He graduated from Bishop Loughlin High School in 1931.

Pat studied at Columbia University College of Pharmacy from 1931 to 1934, earning a Pharmaceutical Graduate degree in 1934. Pat attended St. Johnís College in Brooklyn from 1934-1935.

Vincentian Formation

Pat began his studies for the priesthood at St. Josephís College in Princeton, NJ in 1935, earning his A.B. in 1938.


From 1938-1940, Pat and his class made their novitiate at St. Vincentís Seminary, Germantown, pronouncing vows on June 17, 1940.

Mary Immaculate Seminary

Pat moved to Mary Immaculate Seminary, Northampton, PA after vows to continue his theological studies. Ordination to the priesthood with his 18 classmates followed on May 29, 1943 in the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul at the hands of Dennis Cardinal Dougherty.

Father Pat spent the summer after ordination as curate in St. Vincentís Parish, Philadelphia. In September he was assigned to St. Johnís Preparatory School in Brooklyn, NY, where he taught Biology.

St. Josephís, Princeton

Fr. Patrick FlemingIn 1948 Father Pat was transferred to St. Josephís College, Princeton, NJ, where he taught many classes of seminarians History, Biology, Chemistry and the Physical Sciences over a period of twenty years. He also taught Religion, and was Acting Dean - Principal of the High School. During these years, Father Pat studied Biology at St. Johnís University, earning his B.S. in 1945 and his M.S. in 1948.

St. John Vianney, Miami

In 1968, Father Pat moved to St. John Vianney Seminary, Miami, FL, where he continued to teach Biology and Chemistry. He also serve as Spiritual Director of the College Department and Principal of the High School Department.

In 1975, Father Pat was missioned to St. Vincentís Seminary in Germantown, where he served as Acting Assistant Superior.

Vocation Ministry

In 1976, Father Pat returned to St. Josephís Preparatory Seminary, Princeton as Associate Vocation Director. During these years, as one confrere remembers: "With his boisterous voice and wide smile, he spoke about how God might be calling some of us students to become priests and religious. In a very nonchalant way, he invited us to ĎCome and Seeí how the CMs lived, worked and played. That took me to the workshop in Princeton where I met so many of you who confirmed for me that God was indeed calling me to the priesthood and, more specifically, the Community." Another confrere recalls that "My family often talked about his 'home visit' when I was applying for the seminary."

Vocation work also involved Father Pat in speaking frequently at Vincentian Vocation Club breakfasts. "Rumor has it that the men in the audience always knew the real punch lines of the jokes he had 'cleaned up'."


In 1983 he returned to St. Vincentís Seminary in Germantown, where he served as sub-Assistant Superior, and Chaplain to St. Catherineís Infirmary.

In 1990, Father Pat was missioned to Loudonville, NY where he served as Chaplain to the Daughters of Charity at their Provincial House in Menands, NY.

In 1994 Father Pat returned to St. Vincentís Seminary, Philadelphia, serving in General Ministry.

St. Catherineís Infirmary

Fr. Patrick FlemingHe entered St. Catherineís Infirmary in October, 1994. As the years progressed, Father Patís health had its ups and downs. He retained his cheerful spirit, love for Ireland and things Irish. He was always happy to receive many visitors and friends.

During the month of May, 2002, he grew weaker, showing signs that he was slipping away from us and on his way to heaven. God called him home on Tuesday morning, June 11, 2002. As one confrere put it: "Iím sure heaven is ringing with his laughter!" And another confrere: "I will miss his wide Irish smile, his boisterousness, his amazing energy, his kindness, and his unrelenting efforts to extend an invitation to others to consider a possible vocation to the priesthood and/or religious life." And still another confrere: "We can certainly use his hearty laughter and optimism today".

Wake/Viewing and Funeral

Family and Confreres gathered on Friday, June 14th to pray for Father Pat. At the evening Wake, they prayed the Rosary and a Vigil for the Deceased. During the latter, both family and confreres shared their remembrances of Pat Fleming, a wonderful person whose life enriched both his family and all those to whom he ministered as a Vincentian priest.

On Saturday, June 15th, a Funeral Mass was held in Maryís Central Shrine at 10:30 AM. Father Thomas F. McKenna, CM, Provincial Superior, was principal celebrant, assisted by Father Patís classmates, Frs. John McDonnell, and Joe OíDonnell, and about twenty confrere concelebrants. Father John Hodnett, who had known Pat at Princeton, preached the homily. After lunch at St. Vincentís Seminary, family and confreres traveled to St. Josephís Seminary, Princeton, where Father Pat was laid to rest in the cemetery with his Vincentian confreres. "May this worthy servant now rest from his many labors in Godís eternal care!"

Courtsey of William Sheldon, C.M.

Vincentians USA - Priests and Brothers


And memories from the St. Joe's Alumni Site

Father Flemings's Favorite Jokes & Stories
I made my Twice a week call to my parents last night and finally talked to my Mom for the first time since fr Pat Fleming died. I had told my Dad of his death but he has suffered short memory loss since his last stroke, and he forgot to tell my Mom of Father flemings final curtain call.

I told her and she said, "Johnny, you just sent a chill up my spine." "What Mom, what happened?"

" I was just looking at the prayer book Dad and I received at his 25th anniversary as a priest and I hadn't picked that one up for years." I had never known they received it, since I was away at St Joes at the time ,so she read me the inscription on this red missal with gold letters. "On the Ocassion of the 25th Anniversary of the Ordination of Patrick J Fleming" We figured about 63 years as a priest. I had been constructing a Pat Fleming Story on Word ,realy looking for a vivid memory of this nice man and hesitating to find something better. Well let me tell you he sent a chill up my spine too! I could hear his voice when we would hesitate in class "ALLLRIGHT" he would say.

So I figured he wanted me to quit my hesitation. The quickest memories we all seem to have about Fr Pat were his jokes. He was a fan of the late great Jewish ethnic comic Myron Cohen, who was the source of many of his jokes, including the famous "you just missed the last train to Poughkeepsie".

Here is one of the Myron Cohen jokes I heard Fr Fleming tell:

Two martians land on Delancy Street in New York City. Out jump the martians, two little green men with Antennae sticking out of their heads. They quickly discover on landing their tiny spacecraft that they have busted two of their tires. "Before we do anything else" one said to the other, "we better get these tires replaced."

They walked down Delancy Street and spotted bagels hanging from a string in the window of Katz Delicatessen. Thinking they were tires, they went in to purchase two.

Now it was Halloween ,and the clerk at the counter thought they were Trick or Treaters asking for goodies. "And what can I give to you boys?"said the clerk.

"We'll have two of those tires in the window."

"Oh Boys, Those are not tires . Those are bagels, you eat them. Here try one."

The two martians accept the treat and split the bagel and a munching away with big smiles on their faces. Suddenly one turns to the other and says: "Hey, you know what this would taste real good with ?"

"No. What?" said the other.

"Cream Cheese and Lox"


John "Chuck" McCann '66-69'

Anyon out there know the Bear story? I don't remember that one.