Local residents are mourning the loss of the pastor of the Church of the Beloved Disciple.
The Rev. Michael P. Allison, who had led the Pine Township church since 2011, passed away on Saturday at the rectory. He was 60.
The Diocese of Erie and the church released statements on Sunday regarding the passing of Allison, also known to many as “Father Mike.”
Deacon Owen Wagner of Beloved Disciple shared a post on the church’s Facebook page announcing Allison’s death.
“We have lost a pastor and a friend...Let us remember with fondness and joy the one lesson that Fr. Mike wanted us to take to heart, that ‘God is good, all the time,’” he wrote.
Wagner also wrote that the church believes Allison is with Jesus, his parents and all those who love God. He will be missed, and Wagner asked people to keep Allison and his family, friends and parish in their prayers.
A Facebook post from the diocese said that his death was unexpected, and that Allison was well-known and loved for his efforts in parish work and with several secondary schools.
The diocese quoted an article from Faithful Servants, which published information about Allison to mark the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Allison said:
“I am continually inspired by God’s holy people as they manage daily the business of living. They have far more challenges presented to them than I, and witnessing their joys and hopes, griefs and anxieties is a constant sign to me of the presence of God.”
A public viewing will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the church, 1310 S. Center St. Ext.
Visiting hours will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at St. Jude Church, 2801 W. 6th St., Erie, where a liturgy for Allison will be celebrated at 1 p.m. with Bishop Lawrence Persico presiding.
Burial in Gate of Heaven Cemetery will be private.
Those who don’t attend the service in Erie can view it online by visiting the St. Jude website at www.stjudeapos.org
Both churches are asking attendees to observe certain guidelines because of the COVID-19 pandemic: face masks must be worn, keep a distance of at least 6 feet of space, and avoid congregating even at this difficult time.
Seating for the funeral mass will be very limited. Friends are encouraged to participate via live-streaming to allow room for family, clergy and current parishioners.
Beloved Disciple parishioners and community members have been sharing their thoughts about Allison online. On the funeral home’s website, people offered their condolences and expressed sadness over the loss of the pastor.
On the church’s Facebook page, people said that he touched many lives and was full of life, and they feel blessed to have known him.
Allison was born in Erie to R. Craig Allison Sr. and Susan Allison, according to his obituary. He graduated from St. Mark Seminary High School in 1977, received his bachelor of arts degree in English from Gannon University, and was ordained on May 10, 1991, for the Diocese of Palm Beach, Fla., at St. Ignatius Loyola Cathedral.
He also had degrees in theology and divinity from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, Boynton Beach, Fla., and in education from Gannon University.
Allison returned to the Diocese of Erie to care for his ailing father in 1997, and was incardinated into the Diocese of Erie in March 2000.
He served multiple parishes and schools. During his time at Beloved Disciple Parish, he was also a religious studies instructor at Kennedy Catholic High School in Hermitage, and president of the Shenango Valley Catholic School System.
Allison is survived by: his brothers, R. Craig Allison Jr. and his wife, Gina; and Christian L. Allison and his wife, Jane France; his nephew Jacob Allison; his nieces Emma and Mara Allison; his uncle Msgr. Bruce Allison of the Diocese of Erie; and his uncle Keith Allison and his wife Judy.
Memorials may be made in Allison’s memory to: Mercyhurst Preparatory School, 538 E. Grandview Blvd., Erie, PA 16504.