Fr. Alfred Aloysius McBride, O. Praem.

December 12, 1928 – October  23, 2020

Father Alfred Aloysius McBride, O. Praem., age 91, a member of the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey, De Pere, WI, and a Norbertine priest, passed into God’s eternal kingdom on October 23, 2020.

Fr. McBride was born in Philadelphia on December 12, 1928 to the late Charles and Mary (Shannon) McBride and raised by his Aunt Mary Courtney, whom he regarded as his mother. He felt a call to the priesthood early in his life at his home parish of St. Patrick’s in central Philadelphia.

He entered the Norbertine Order and was vested as a novice on August 28, 1946. Two years later he professed Simple Vows on August 28, 1948 and began teaching English and Latin at St. Norbert High School in De Pere. In 1950 he received a Bachelor in Philosophy from St. Norbert College in De Pere.

Fr. McBride professed Solemn Vows on August 28, 1951 and was ordained to the priesthood on June 20, 1953. For his first assignment, he was appointed the Associate Pastor of St. Joseph Church in De Pere while continuing to teach at the high school.

In 1958 he was asked to be the celebrant of the Mass on WBAY AM/FM radio, which he did for seven years. When the new St. Norbert Abbey was built in 1959, Fr. McBride became the first Novice Master.

He was sent to Brussels, Belgium in June of 1963 and obtained a diploma in Catechetics from the Lumen Vitae Institute. He earned a Doctorate in Religious Education from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 1972. Fr. McBride was the founder and Executive Director of the Department of Religious Education at the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) from 1972-1979. He received the NCEA Board Award for distinguished service.

In 1983 Fr. McBride traveled to New Mexico and became the President of the University of Albuquerque. Upon receiving an invitation to Washington, D.C. by the U.S. Catholic Bishops, he was appointed to write the catechesis in preparation for the second pastoral visit to the United States of Pope St. John Paul II in 1987, and also to be a Special Representative to the media during that visit.

Fr. McBride was appointed the Ecclesiastical Assistant for the United States in 1989. He served as consultant to the Archdiocese of Boston for the implementation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and was a Professor of Homiletics and Catechetics at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts. In 1992 Fr. McBride became the Spiritual Director for the U.S. branch of the World Wide Mission called the“Aid to the Church in Need”.

In 2003 Fr. McBride celebrated his Golden Jubilee as a priest and decided to return home to De Pere and rejoin his confreres. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by both St. Norbert College in De Pere and Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, NC.

He lectured and wrote widely, publishing 68 books and about 200 articles. Fr. McBride was listed as a most influential educator in the database of Christian Educators of the 20th Century. He was a humble man, always thankful to God for his remarkable gift of writing.

Fr. McBride is survived by the Norbertine Community; cousins: Edward Dougherty and Therese Dougherty and their families. He was preceded in death by his parents and aunt, Mary Courtney.

The Norbertine Community would also like to thank the nurses at St. Norbert Abbey and everyone at Unity Hospice who cared for Fr. McBride.


The Norbertine Community will privately celebrate a Mass of Christian Burial expressing our faith and hope in the promised glory of the Lord’s Resurrection.

Ryan Funeral Home, De Pere is in charge of the arrangements.

Podcast Episode 011: Norbertine Encounter—Drawn by Community

Deacon (now Fr.) Bradley Vanden Branden, O. Praem., on the day of his priestly ordination.

Deacon (now Fr.) Bradley Vanden Branden, O. Praem., on the day of his priestly ordination. Read “Reflections on a Restless Heart” »

Vocational seeds are often planted in the most unexpected or unusual ways. Join our two co-hosts as they reminisce about their journey toward priesthood and how God and the Norbertine community drew them in.

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Podcast Episode 003: Transformative Meals: Opportunity for Encounter

Fr. Alfred McBride, O. Praem. (left), Abbot Emeritus E. Thomas De Wane, O. Praem. (center), and Fr. Andrew Cribben, O. Praem. (right), in the dining room (refectory) at St. Norbert Abbey.

Fr. Alfred McBride, O. Praem. (left), Abbot Emeritus E. Thomas De Wane, O. Praem. (center), and Fr. Andrew Cribben, O. Praem. (right), in the dining room (refectory) at St. Norbert Abbey.

To share a meal, and not just food, but also affection, stories, events, is a fundamental experience.

—Pope Francis

When is the last time you sat down together with loved ones and enjoyed a meal, good conversation, events of the day? Given the fast-paced culture in which we live, it has become the norm to grab a meal on the go, or eat while tuned into television or smart phones. But sharing a meal at home or in the Eucharist can be a transformative experience—an opportunity to encounter Christ within ourselves and one another.

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