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Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina

080516 augustineFr. John T. Denny

Bryn Mawr, Pa. — Augustinian Father John T. Denny, 58, died June 20, 2016, at Bryn Mawr Hospital.

Father Denny was pastor of Our Mother of Good Counsel Church in Bryn Mawr, but for health reasons resided at St. Thomas of Villanova Monastery Health Care Center since March.

From 2007 until the Augustinian order left the Diocese of Charlotte in 2011, he served as pastor at St. Margaret of Scotland Church and Living Waters Retreat Center in Maggie Valley.

A parish Mass will be celebrated at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 23, 2016. A wake will be held before the Mass in the church from 4 to 7:15 p.m.

A second wake will take place at the Church of St. Thomas of Villanova (Campus Church) from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 24, 2016, followed by the Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m.

Interment will take place immediately following the funeral Mass in the Augustinian plot at Calvary Cemetery in Conshohocken, Pa.

Father Denny was born on Oct. 19, 1957, the son of the late Joseph G. Denny III and Mary Katherine (Schubert) Denny.

He was baptized at St. Laurence Church, Upper Darby, Pa., on Nov. 3, 1957, and attended St. Laurence Parish School from 1963 to 1971. He then entered Monsignor Bonner High School in Drexel Hill, Pa., and graduated in 1975. From 1975 to 1979, he attended Boston College, where he earned a bachelor's degree in history. He entered the Augustinian order at Good Counsel Novitiate in Lawrence, Mass., in August 1980, but withdrew the following March. He then worked for a year in a real estate office and from 1981 to 1985, taught at Monsignor Bonner High School. He re-entered the order and began a second novitiate in August 1985. He professed simple vows on Aug. 2, 1986, and moved to Augustinian College, Washington, D.C. There he pursued theological studies at the Washington Theological Union, and received an M.A. in ecclesiastical history.

He professed solemn vows on May 20, 1989, and was ordained to the priesthood on Aug. 18, 1990, at Our Mother of Good Counsel by Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, N.Y.

He was first assigned to St. Joseph Friary in Drexel Hill and to Monsignor Bonner High School, where he served as a teacher from 1990 to 1999, as chaplain from 1990 to 1993, principal from 1993 to 1999, and school president from 1999 to 2001. In 2001 he was appointed the province's vocation director, and a member of Fray Luis de Leon Friary on the campus of Villanova University. From 2002 to 2007 he was adjunct professor of theology at the university, and chaplain of the University Law School. In 2004 he was assigned to the Saxony Hall community in Rosemont.

On Nov. 1, 2007, he was appointed pastor of St. Margaret of Scotland Church in Maggie Valley.

When the province withdrew from ministry in Maggie Valley in 2011, Father Denny was assigned as pastor of Our Mother of Good Counsel Parish. In August 2014, he was appointed prior of the community as well.

For some time he suffered with ailments of the back and leg. Due to progressive weakness he moved to the infirmary wing of the Villanova Monastery on March 24, 2016. Shortly after, it was discovered that he was suffering from cancer. He underwent a series of treatments and on June 13 was admitted to Bryn Mawr Hospital. He died there peacefully in the early morning hours of June 20, accompanied by several friars and family members.

He was a keen gardener, and planted flowerbeds around the friaries where he was assigned. While at Monsignor Bonner High School, he assigned students in detention to care for these at the school. He was also a devoted student of American presidential history and enjoyed visiting various significant presidential sites. He was possessed of a good sense of humor, an infectious laugh, and deep appreciation and dedication to his vocation as an Augustinian and a priest.

Besides his mother, he is survived by six brothers, one sister and many nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers the Augustinian Community, of which Father Denny was a beloved member, wishes contributions to be made to: The Augustinian Fund, Care of Sick and Elderly, c/o Provincial Offices, P.O. Box 340, Villanova, PA 19085-0340.

— Catholic News Herald