NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Father Benedict (Frank) Folger, SS.CC., an ordained member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary-United States Province, passed away January 15 at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford.
Father Folger, who last celebrated his 82nd birthday, was born in New Bedford to Frank and Mary (Rapoza) Folger on June 20, 1932. His early years were spent in Fairhaven where he attended St. Joseph’s School and Fairhaven High School, graduating in 1949.
Father Folger is survived by his sister Lucy (Folger) Makara and her husband Frank of Fairhaven; his niece Marianne Gaboriault and her husband Richard of Pawtucket, R.I.; his nephew, Stephen Makara and his wife Cindy of New Bedford; six grandnieces and nephews and eleven great-grandnieces and nephews.
Always knowing that he wanted to be a priest from a very early age, Father Folger joined the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts in 1951 making his first profession in 1952 at St. Joseph’s Church in Fairhaven. He was ordained to the priesthood at Queen of Peace Seminary in Jaffrey, N.H. on Sept. 29, 1957. Being very close to his family, his niece, Marianne, was the first baby he baptized following his ordination, something which created a special bond between the two.
In 1958 he received his first assignment to teach at Bishop Amat High School in La Puenta, Calif. He remained there until 1972 when he returned to the East Coast Province to serve as parochial vicar and pastor at several of the area churches including Our Lady of the Assumption in New Bedford, Our Lady of Lourdes in Wellfleet, and St. Francis Xavier in Acushnet.
Father Folger went to the Bahamas in 1977 where he became parochial vicar at St. Joseph’s Church in Nassau. In 1983 he returned to become parochial vicar at Holy Trinity in Harwich for almost 10 years followed by assignments as pastor at St. Mary’s in Fairhaven and at St. Margaret of Scotland in Seat Pleasant, Md.
But perhaps the most beloved of the assignments Father Folger received was that of parochial vicar for the parishes of Our Lady of Grace, St. Anthony and Immaculate Conception and their mission churches located in and around Artesia, N.M. where the Congregation established a new community-in-mission. Assigned there in 2003, he remained in active ministry until health concerns forced his retirement to Damien Residence in 2008, but Artesia was a place to which he had always hoped to return.
A Funeral Mass was celebrated for Father Folger at St. Joseph’s Church in Fairhaven January 20, followed by burial in the Sacred Hearts Community Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Sacred Hearts Community Damien Residence in Fairhaven.
Arrangements were by the Fairhaven Funeral Home, 117 Main Street, Fairhaven. For memorial register go to, www.hathawayfunerals.com.