The Rev. Michael W. Carrion, the pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church in Loch Raven Village, died of an apparent heart attack Saturday at Good Samaritan Hospital. He was 68.
Father Carrion, who led the parish for almost 20 years, officiated at a funeral earlier in the day and developed symptoms of his illness after he offered prayers at a cemetery interment.
In a statement, Archbishop William E. Lori said: "The death of Father Carrion is a tremendous loss for the Archdiocese and for the people of IHM parish and school, to whom he was so devoted. His death is a terrible shock and a devastating loss. The impact of his priestly ministry will be felt in this Archdiocese for many years to come.”
Born in Baltimore, Michael Carrion was the son of Walter Carrion, a NASA engineer, and his wife, Helen Flahavan, a homemaker. He spent his early childhood in Hamilton and attended St. Dominic School. The family moved to Howard County, and he attended Saint Louis School in Clarksville. He was a 1969 graduate of Cardinal Gibbons High School.
Other members of Father Carrion’s family have served the Archdiocese of Baltimore. An uncle, Martin Flahavan, was a priest and pastor of St. Luke’s Church in Sparrows Point. A great-aunt, Sister Mary Touhey of the Divine Heart, was a Good Shepherd Order nun who served at its old Mount Street convent in Union Square.
His brother, the Rev. Patrick M. Carrion, is the pastor of St. Bernadette Church in Severn and director of the Archdiocesan Office of Cemeteries.
Father Carrion earned degrees at St. Mary’s Seminary and University and at the Theological College at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Archbishop William Borders ordained him to the priesthood at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in 1977.
He was assigned to Sacred Heart Church in Glyndon, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Woodlawn, St. Margaret in Bel Air, and St. Clare in Essex before he was named pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary in 2000.
Friends recalled him as caring and hospitable. He regularly entertained church volunteers and organizations with meals he made. He also put together annual parish Mardi Gras dinner. He made pork shoulder barbecue and roasted his own turkeys. He prepared foods for a seder reenactment as a link with the Jewish community.
“He was quiet and unassuming. He had a dry sense of humor. He was supportive of good music and good liturgy,” said Thomas Bozek, his music director. “He liked that the church staff took a rest at midday and joined him for lunch. He was also a good administrator and watched his finances. He also oversaw numerous repairs to the parish. He insisted upon good roofing, new windows, heating and air conditioning updates.”
“My brother loved hospitality and often invited other members of the clergy and seminarians who maybe did not have a place to go for Thanksgiving dinner,” his brother said. “The archdiocese recognized his ability to welcome newcomers and often asked him to assist seminarians from other countries. He helped them with their visas and get their automobile licenses.”
He also said, “My brother was proud he was able to keep his parish school open. He loved the energy of the school and had always served parishes with schools.”
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In 2017 Father Carrion and his brother celebrated their 75 combined years in the priesthood and hosted an event for other priests who had siblings in the clergy. Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien, former archbishop of Baltimore, attended the event with other members of the clergy.
In addition to his other duties, Father Carrion served as a metropolitan collegiate judge in the Archdiocesan Tribunal.
Father Carrion was a Knight of the Holy Sepulcher and made religious pilgrimages to the Holy Land. He also enjoyed travel with family and other priests to other countries.
Father Carrion inherited his family’s electric toy trains and built a Baltimore Christmas garden each year in the parish center. He invited students from the parish school and hosted an annual reception on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s.
A funeral Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Thursday at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 8501 Loch Raven Boulevard. Visitations will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Ruck Funeral Home, 1050 York Road, and on Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.