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Father Philip Breen Passes Away At 77

Posted at 8:14 PM, Mar 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-01 21:26:50-05

The mid-state said goodbye to Father Philip Breen, a man who for more than 50 years welcomed people to church and offered them guidance.

“He’s in a better place.” Kelly Braniff, Director of Development and Stewardship at St. Ann Catholic Church, said on Tuesday. “Now we have an angle on our side praying for us.”

Breen was born and raised in Nashville and dedicated his life to God, serving as a priest at multiple churches throughout Tennessee.

Breen spent the last half of his career, 25 years, as a pastor at St. Ann Catholic Church in Nashville.

“It wasn’t uncommon at all to drive by on Charlotte Pike and see him mowing the lawn.” Rick Musacchio, a longtime friend of Breen and Director of Communication for the Diocese of Nashville said, adding that Breen was a man of the people, who took time to know every person he met, and shared details of his life that made him human.

“He talked openly about his own battles and struggles with alcoholism.” Musacchio said.

Luckily for the Nashville Catholic community, Breen was able to overcome his struggles, and in turn, help not just the people of his church, but the whole community.

“He walked what he spoke in church, which made it very easy for us as parishioners to mirror those lessons that he taught us.” Braniff said.

In addition to sharing the word of God, Breen had words of his own he shared.

“He had some Father Breen-isms.” As Braniff put it.

Sayings like, “Pray, pray, pray.” Or, “Keep on keeping on.”

While the Nashville Catholic community has lost a bright light, they’re thankful they were blessed with his presence in the first place.

Breen lived to be 77-years-old.