Rev. George P. Behan

In lieu of flowers please send contributions to the Catholic Relief Services, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, MD 21297-0303. Reverend George Behan died at St. Clare Home on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018. Born on March 21, 1930, Father Behan was the son of George and Gwendolyn (Pike) Behan.  He is survived by his sisters, Sister Mary Behan SSJ, and Julianne Behan Kelly, brother-in-law, James Kelly, their children, Christine Kelly Vereda and husband Fernando Vereda, Sarah Behan Kelly, Michael Kelly and his wife, Michelle, and 5 great nieces and nephews, Meredith, Genevieve, Gabriel, Isaac and Jasper, many cousins and treasured friends.

Father Behan was ordained into the priesthood on July 1, 1956 in Louvain, Belgium.  He was a diocesan priest of Rhode Island, serving at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Providence, Saint Paul’s Parish in Edgewood and Sacred Heart in East Providence.  He was pastor of Saint Jude’s Parish in Lincoln and Saint William’s in Warwick. 

He taught at Our Lady of Providence Seminary, De La Salle Academy, was Chaplin at the University of Rhode Island, and ran the Catholic Information Center in Newport for a number of years.  He was a leader in the Catholic Family Movement and Cursillo Retreat Movement.  He traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America, including Indonesia following the 2004 tsunami, and Rwanda as witness to the program of national unity and reconciliation following the genocide there.  After his retirement he preached across the United States on behalf of Catholic Relief Services.  Until his death, he was a member of Priests for Justice.

He loved Newport, and family gatherings, traveling to Ireland with the Hibernian Rugby Team.  He enjoyed all water sports, swimming and sailing in his Typhoon sailboat, “Second Collection”.  In winter, he loved skiing and taught his younger sister, nieces and nephew to ski. 

He was an eloquent preacher, and avid reader.  This July 1, he would have celebrated 62 years of priesthood.

Calling hours will be 4-7 pm, Thursday, April 5, 2018 at the O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring Street, Newport, RI.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday, April 6, 2018 at St. Joseph’s Church, corner of Broadway & Mann Avenue, Newport at 10 am.  Burial St. Columba Cemetery, 465 Brown’s Lane, Middletown, RI.

In lieu of flowers please send contributions to the Catholic Relief Services, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, MD 21297-0303, or by visiting