Father Eugene H. McFarland, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Macedon for more than two decades, died March 1, 2007, at McAuley Residence in Brighton after a short illness. He was 89 years old.
Father McFarland grew up in Rochester’s Immaculate Conception Parish and attended the parish school. He also attended St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries before being ordained on June 5, 1943, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Rochester’s Sacred Heart Cathedral.
He served as assistant pastor at the following parishes: St. Philip Neri, Rochester (1943); St. John the Evangelist, Clyde (1943-44); St. Vincent de Paul, Corning (1944-45); and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rochester (1945-53.)
From 1953 to 1965 he directed youth ministry for the Diocese of Rochester, overseeing Catholic Youth Organization activities and serving during the summer months as director of Camp Stella Maris, where as a youth he had been among the original campers following the facility’s establishment in the late 1920s.
In 1965 Father McFarland returned to parish ministry, serving briefly as administrator and then pastor of St. James the Apostle in Trumansburg. Later that year he was named pastor of St. Patrick in Macedon, where he was to remain for the next 23 years.
After retirement from his pastorate in 1988, Father McFarland took up residence at St. Mary Church in Geneseo. There, he lived for 13 years with then-pastor Father William Gordinier.
“You could always count on him. You had a bad day, and there he was,” Father Gordinier recalled. “It was great to have somebody around like that. He was good on advice.”
“He certainly was a very devoted priest — very devoted to his priestly ministry, and he had a concern for fellow priests,” added Msgr. William Shannon, a classmate of Father McFarland.
Father McFarland also was well-known for his mirthfulness. Father Gordinier recalled, for instance, that Father McFarland would tell a joke after each Mass he celebrated.
“He had a wonderful way with the people. They really took to him,” Father Gordinier remarked.
“He had a wonderful sense of humor. He could light up almost any gathering, and he had a marvelous ability to imitate people in both their voice and their gestures,” Msgr. Shannon said, adding that Father McFarland was especially noted for his dead-on imitation of Bishop Lawrence B. Casey. “Bishop Casey loved it,” he said.
In 2001 Father McFarland moved to the Chapel Oaks senior community in Rochester. He remained there until moving to McAuley Residence this past year.
Father McFarland’s funeral Mass was to take place March 5 at St. Mary Church in Geneseo, with Bishop Matthew H. Clark presiding. Interment was to be at St. Anne’s Cemetery in Palmyra.
Father McFarland is survived by his sister, Roni Hanna; nieces and a nephew; and a great-niece and great-nephew.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Sisters of Mercy, 1437 Blossom Road, Rochester, NY 14610.