Fr Bernard Toal: First Columban Centenarian

Fr Bernard Toal, the first Columban to reach the age of 100, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, on 17 October 1915 but grew up in nearby Gloucester, New Jersey. He was ordained in Buffalo, New York, on 18 December 1943. Because of World War II he spent the early years of his priesthood in the USA.

Fr Toal in Ozamiz City (1947-51)

From 1947 to 1951 he was based in Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental, Philippines, where he taught in Immaculate Conception College, now La Salle University Ozamiz. From 1951 until 1968 he was in St Columban’s, Bristol, Rhode Island, USA, most of that time as Director of Probationers, Columban seminarians on a year of intense spiritual formation.

Fr Toal, seated, with Columban seminarians, Bristol, Rhode Island, USA, 1962-63

Father Toal worked in Peru from 1968 till 1979 when he was reassigned to the USA where he worked in parishes in California, Texas and New Mexico, the last being St Mary’s, Fontana, California, where he worked from 2001 until he retired to Bristol, RI, in 2011.

Fr Toal with friends in Lima, Peru (1968-79)

We thank God for Father Bernard’s long life and for his faithful service as a Columban missionary priest. Ad multos annos!

Mass in St Columban’s, Bristol, RI, USA, on 17 October 2015
on the 100th Birthday of Fr Bernard Toal.