Rites today for Bishop McManus' mother

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NARRAGANSETT - Helen F. McManus will always be lovingly remembered as a faithful Catholic and devoted mother, grandmother and friend.

The St. Thomas More Church parishioner and mother of Bishop Robert F. McManus of Worcester, MA and former auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Providence, died March 17 at South County Hospital, South Kingstown. She was the wife of the late Edward W. McManus.

"She was a very good Christian," said Father James J. Verdelotti, pastor of St. Mary Church, Cranston, a longtime friend of the McManus family. "She loved her family, and she loved the church. She was very faithful to the Mass."

Father Verdelotti said it was an "amazing" coincidence that McManus, of Irish heritage, died on St. Patrick's Day. He added that the grandmother of seven and great-grandmother of five will also be remembered for her warm Irish hospitality.

"You were always more than welcome in her home," the priest recalled.

Father John C. Halloran, pastor of St. Thomas More Church, remembered McManus as a woman who passed her strong Catholic faith to her children and grandchildren, many of whom followed her example and became active in the parish.

"People had a great respect for her spirit of faith," said Father Halloran, adding that the devout woman often attended daily Mass when her health permitted, and always sat in the fourth row from the main altar at Sunday Mass.

"She came early and prayed fervently," the pastor said. "She had a great spirit of prayer."

Father Halloran added that he first met the McManus family more than 30 years ago at Blessed Sacrament Church, Providence, where they were communicants and the bishop's mother was a member of the choir.

Helen F. (King) was born in Providence, the daughter of the late Francis M. and Helen R. (Gallagher) King. She lived in Providence for many years, before moving to Narragansett in 1977.

In addition to Bishop McManus, she is survived by two sons, Edward W. McManus of Narragansett, and Paul F. McManus of Avon, Indiana; a daughter, Elaine F. Smith of East Greenwich; and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was the sister of the late A. Hope King and Francis M. King.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be concelebrated today, March 22 at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, Providence. Burial will be in St. Ann Cemetery, Cranston.

(This story originally published in The Providence Visitor)