Deacon Marcel G. Morency

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Deacon Marcel George Morency, 96, of New Bedford passed away peacefully May 9 at Sacred Heart Home. Morency graduated from St. Anthony and St. Joseph’s Schools in New Bedford. He graduated from Assumption Preparatory School in Worcester in 1939, where he studied the classics, Greek, Latin, French and a rigorous classical core curriculum typical of that time. Morency continued his education at the Campbell Secretarial School while learning the family wholesale paper and grocer business, Roy Paper Wholesale Company, founded, owned and operated by his father, Thomas and his uncle Joseph. 

Selective service called Morency in 1942 to serve in the Army; he was rejected because of a perforated left ear drum and poor vision. Recalled and accepted in March of 1943 to serve the Army, he was sent to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. for basic training with the 289th Infantry of the 75th division. In March of 1944, the Army transferred Marcel to Military Intelligence G-2 Training Center of Camp Ritchie, Md., where he served as a French interpreter for the procurement of military information until discharged as a sergeant in April 1946, 

He met and married Muriel (Viens) Morency on Sept. 5, 1949 at St. Anne’s Church in New Bedford. 

Upon retirement and after five years of study, Marcel was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate on June 20, 1987 by Bishop Daniel Cronin for the Diocese of Fall River. Because of his profound deafness, his wife, Muriel, became his “ears” throughout the five-year training, accompanying him to classes, taking notes and translating as needed throughout his religious training. Morency also studied sign language during this period, and learned to lip-read to improve his ability to listen to people who sought his assistance. After his ordination on June 20, 1987, Deacon Morency faithfully served St. Anne’s Church in New Bedford until the parish closed in 2004. His diaconate ministry continued at Sacred Heart Home where he resided for the past four years. Deacon Morency received the Marian Medal in 1974. 

In 2008, Morency and his wife Muriel moved from their home in New Bedford’s South End to live with their daughter, to provide care for Muriel as she debilitated from Alzheimer’s disease. He was her constant companion and principle caregiver throughout her illness, a model of a devoted husband and best friend. At the time of Muriel’s death, they were married for 59 years. 

Morency began and ended his day with prayer throughout his entire life. He incorporated many people into his mid-day devotions, particularly the Rosary. He was an avid reader, including several newspapers into his morning schedule on a daily basis, and heartily enjoyed historical novels, theological writing and biographies. An avid Red Sox fan, one of his favorite sayings was, “They broke my heart.” He enjoyed watching baseball, basketball and football. 

Morency loved his family, enjoyed the company of all people, possessed a good sense of humor and was always ready for a good conversation. He could relate the stories of the past century with great detail and could tell you the alternative “scenic” back roads that existed in New England. He was a contemplative person at his core; Thomas Merton and Henry Nouwen were among his favorite authors. Despite his profound deafness throughout his life, Marcel loved opera and classical music and always sought ways to improve his many hearing devices so that he could listen and appreciate live concerts or telecasts or hear his family sing. 

He is survived by two of his four children: Denise Morency Gannon and her spouse Patrick Gannon of New Bedford, and Paul Thomas Morency and his spouse, Holly (Brainard) Morency of Riverton, Wyo., and his daughter-in-law Mary (Mello) Morency, wife of Marc E. Morency (deceased); his grandchildren: Koren Kross, Lauren Medicine Horse, Aaron Morency, Adrienne Morency, Sean Gannon, Timothy Gannon, and Martha Gannon Souza; several great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews, cousins and friends. 

He was predeceased by his wife Muriel, his children, Robert Marcel Morency and Marc E. Morency, his parents, Thomas Morency and Elizabeth (Parent) Morency, his siblings, Jean Louis Morency, Jacques Morency, Joseph Simon Morency, and Madeleine Robitaille, and his sister-in-law, Lorette C. Viens. 

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at Sacred Heart Home on May 13. Burial with military honors followed at Sacred Heart Cemetery. Remembrances may be made to Sacred Heart Home, 359 Summer Street, New Bedford, 02740. Arrangements were by the Saunders-Dwyer Home for Funerals. 

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