Father Michael H. Smith, Augusta native, dies in Statesboro

Father Michael Heffernan Smith, 78, a priest of the Diocese of Savannah for 51 years died at Ogeechee Area Hospice in Statesboro early today, June 21, 2017.

A native of Augusta, Georgia, Father Smith was ordained by Bishop Thomas J. McDonough at St. Mary on the Hill Church in Augusta in 1966.

He began his priestly service as an assistant pastor at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Savannah.

During the period from 1968 to 1979 he served as director of the Department of Christian Formation and the director of Camp Villa Marie in Savannah.
He was pastor of St. Anthony Church in Savannah (now Resurrection of Our Lord) from 1979 to 1988, pastor of St. Matthew Church in Statesboro and St. Boniface Church in Springfield from 1988 to 1997,  and pastor of Holy Redeemer Church in McRae and its mission, St. Mark Church in Eastman from 1997 to 2001.

He retired after serving as pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Moultrie and St. John Vianney Mission in Camilla from 2001 to 2007. He has been living in retirement in Statesboro.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Anna Heffernan Smith, and his brother David Smith.

Survivors include his sister and brother-in-law Anne (Joseph) Melanson; a niece Cathy (Joe) Perry; four nephews, Daniel (Brenda), Stephen (Nikki), Paul, and Andrew; seven great nieces and nephews and many cousins; and his brother priests, especially Father Tom Nellis and members of the Jesus Caritas fraternity.

A Vigil Service with Rosary will be celebrated at St. Matthew's Church in  Statesboro, on Wednesday, June 28, at 7:00 p.m. Father Tom Peyton will give a reflection.

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at noon on Thursday, June 29, at Saint Matthew's. Bishop Gregory Hartmayer, OFM Conv. will be the celebrant. Fr. Tom Nellis will be the homilist.

Burial will be at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 30, at the Catholic Cemetery, Savannah.

Memorials may be made to ICMC, an international Catholic organization serving the needs of refugees and migrants; Ogeechee Area Hospice in Statesboro, or St. Matthew Catholic Church in Statesboro, where Fr. Mike was pastor for nine years and later ministered during retirement. 

Hodges-Moore Funeral Home of Statesboro is in charge of arrangements.


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