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Franciscan Father Raymond Mann, 89, dies in Florida


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Father Raymond Mann, OFM, 89, a professed friar with Holy Name Province for 68 years and a priest for 62, died on Sept. 23, 2021, at St. Anthony Friary, where he lived for seven years. He spent his religious life mainly in Massachusetts and Bolivia.

Father Mann was born on Aug. 26, 1932, in Buffalo to Raymond and Kathryn (Wierling) Mann. He graduated from Holy Angels Collegiate High School, Buffalo, in 1950 and attended Little Flower Seminary, also in Buffalo, for two years.

He was received into the Order of Friars Minor at the Province’s novitiate in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1952 and on Aug. 12, 1953, he professed his first vows as a Franciscan. Father Mann studied philosophy and theology in Butler, New Jersey, and in Washington, D.C., respectively.

He professed his final vows as a Franciscan on Aug. 19, 1958, at Christ the King Seminary at St. Bonaventure, before Father Celsus Wheeler, OFM. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Phillip Hannan on April 25, 1959, at Mt. St. Sepulchre at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington, D.C.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University in 1959 and, in 1974, a master’s in education from Boston State College.

After ordination, Father Mann was assigned to St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, where he studied and served as a confessor. In 1960, he was assigned to Bolivia, where he served at the Franciscan mission until 1967. He was then assigned to St. Anthony Shrine for the second of his three assignments there. From 1985 to 1986, Father Mann served as guardian of the Franciscan friary at Holy Cross Parish in the Bronx, and the Province’s director of formation. He then moved to New Mexico, where he worked as a spiritual director at Formation House in Jemez Springs from 1986 to 1991. Father Mann was assigned in 1991 to St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, where he stayed for 23 years. He was a popular confessor and spiritual director at the Arch Street church.

Father Mann, who was also known for his reflections and retreats, authored several articles, including one for Commonweal magazine in 2008 titled “The Empty Box: Why Catholics Skip Confession.” In 2014, he retired to St. Petersburg.

Father Mann is survived by his brother, Brother William Mann, OFM, who lives in St. Petersburg.

Funeral services were held Sept. 29 at the chapel of St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg. Burial will follow at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Clearwater, Florida.