Ontario English Catholic Teachers

Catholic Teachers Honour Father John Francis (Frank) Kavanagh, OMI

Father John Francis (Frank) Kavanagh of the OMI Lacombe Canada Province, died peacefully on December 20, 2022.

Born in Ottawa on February 4, 1927, he made his first profession as an Oblate of Mary Immaculate on September 8, 1946, and was ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 1953. His first assignment in 1953 was in the history department at St. Patrick’s College High School in Ottawa, where he later served as principal from 1964 to 1969. He then transferred to London in 1969 where he served as principal of Catholic Central High School until 1973.

After receiving his BA at St. Patrick’s College at the University of Ottawa, he went on to receive a BA (Honours) and his MA in History from Cambridge University.

In 1960, he heard an additional calling and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force Reserve (RCAF) as a Chaplain. Over the next 30 years, he ministered to the hearts and minds of the RCAF, serving as a base Chaplain in Ottawa, Toronto, Borden, and London, and in France and Germany in the summer of 1963.

In 1971-72, he served as OECTA President, and, in 1972-73, he served as Ontario Teachers’ Federation President. Then in 1973, he joined the Metropolitan Separate School Board (now Toronto Catholic District School Board) and served for eight years as an Assistant Director of Education for the secondary school component.

In 1981, he returned to the Association to serve as General Secretary to assist with the efforts to extend full public funding to Catholic secondary school students in Ontario.

Upon his retirement from OECTA, he joined the Ontario Bishops Education Office, known as the Institute for Catholic Education (ICE), and served as the ICE Chair of the Board until 2016.

Father Frank devoted most of his professional life to OECTA and Catholic education, and, in his time with the Association, he fought against the Social Contract and advocated for the extension of full funding for secondary students in Ontario Catholic schools.

Father Frank’s kindness and generosity, as well as his passion for Catholic education, will forever be remembered within OECTA and by those whom he served.