Rev. Patrick Malone, pastor who ministered to Ground Zero workers, dies at 55

By Alia Conley Omaha World-Herald

Rev. Patrick Malone, in a 2011 photo, holds a cross cut from a girder at Ground Zero. Matt Miller, The World-Herald

Rev. Patrick Malone, in a 2011 photo, holds a cross cut from a girder at Ground Zero. Matt Miller, The World-Herald

The Rev. Patrick Malone, pastor at St. John’s Parish on the Creighton University campus, died Tuesday afternoon at Josie Harper Hospice House after a long battle with cancer. He was 55. Funeral services are pending.

Malone was surrounded by family members when he died, said the Rev. Andy Alexander, a fellow Jesuit at Creighton.

Malone was diagnosed with a type of leukemia, but received a bone marrow transplant and two stem cell transplants to fight the cancer. He dealt with many related lung and heart problems.

Alexander called Malone a heroic person.

“He was in the hospital many times with pneumonia,” Alexander said. “He just fought back, he never complained. He always wanted to serve people.”

Malone spent six weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks ministering to the needs of recovery workers at New York’s Ground Zero. He was newly ordained as a Jesuit priest and living in Minnesota when the terrorists brought down the World Trade Center’s twin towers. He called the Salvation Army wondering if there was anything he could do to help. By December 2001, he was walking the grounds, wearing a blue hard hat marked “chaplain.”

From 2006 to 2009, Malone served as a chaplain at Creighton’s Institute for Latin American Concern in the Dominican Republic.

Alexander, who worked with Malone in the Dominican Republic, said many Creighton students got to know Malone when they visited the mission.

“I think students loved him because he was the real deal,” Alexander said. “He was authentic and cared about them, not himself.”

Malone took a break after his time in the Dominican Republic and then was assigned to St. John’s.

Malone entered the Society of Jesus in 1992. After philosophy studies at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, he was assigned to teach at Marquette University High School in 1997-98. He studied theology at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California, and was ordained in 2001.

Malone maintained a blog. His last post was July 12. In it, Malone talked about his move to hospice and the support he received from the St. John’s community.

“For the past four years, the people of St. John’s have refused anything but to tightly weave their faith and strength into my health adventure,” Malone wrote.

His last line read, “We come from abundant love, so all we can do well is try to show it, play with it, and foster new life with it. May that glorious mission come with each precious breath.”

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