Father Michael's Story

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STATESBORO, Ga. -- Father Michael Heffernan Smith, 78, a priest of the Diocese of Savannah for 51 years died at Ogeechee Area Hospice in Statesboro, Ga., on Wednesday, 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.
Father Smith 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.
Father Smith 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; sister-in-law, Gloria Smith; seven great-nieces and -nephews and many cousins; his brother priests, especially Father Tom Nellis and members of the Jesus Caritas fraternity.
At 3:00 PM on Wednesday, June 28th, Father Mike's body will be welcomed into St. Matthew's Catholic Church, in Statesboro, Ga., where his body will lie in state until 7:00 PM.
A Vigil Service, including the meditative praying of the Rosary, will be held at 7:00 PM Wednesday at St. Matthew's Church.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Noon on Thursday, June 29th, in St. Matthew's Church, followed by a luncheon reception in the parish's adjoining social hall.
At 11:00 AM on Friday, June 30th, all who are able are invited to gather at the Priests' Plot of the Catholic Cemetery in Savannah, Ga., for prayers of commendation and burial. This will be followed by a luncheon, for attending priests and family members, at the Diocesan Pastoral Center, 2170 E. Victory Drive, Savannah, Ga.
Memorials may be made to ICMC, an international Catholic organization serving the needs of refugees and migrants, 14 Beacon St, Suite #610, Boston, MA 02108; Ogeechee Area Hospice, where Father Smith finished his earthly journey, P.O. Box 531, Statesboro, GA 30459; or St. Matthew Catholic Church, where Fr. Mike was pastor for nine years and later ministered during retirement, 221 John Paul Avenue, Statesboro, GA 30458.
Please visit the online memorial at www.hodgesmoore.com to sign the guest book and share fond memories with the Smith family. 
Hodges-Moore Funeral Home of Statesboro is in charge of arrangements.
Published on June 27, 2017
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