GLENBURN – Father Joseph Warren Arps Jr. died as he lived, peacefully and with dignity, March 25, 2011, at home. He was born Sept. 24, 1947, in Rocky Mount, N.C., the only child of Joseph and Madeline (Edmondson) Arps.
He was raised in Plymouth, N.C., and graduated from Plymouth High School in 1965. He earned bachelor’s degrees in English literature and history from the University of North Carolina in 1969 and a Master of Divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1973. Joe married Corabell Bennett Jan. 8, 1974, at St. Alban’s Church, Washington, D.C., and was ordained an Episcopal priest March 25, 1974. He served first at St. Paul’s Church, Greenville, N.C. The couple moved to Texas, where he served for 17 years as a priest at Church of the Incarnation, Dallas. After moving to Maine in 1992, Father Arps was the parish priest at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, Dover-Foxcroft. He and his family converted to the Roman Catholic Church in 2000 and became parishioners at St. Matthew’s Church, Hampden. In 2002 Father Arps was ordained a Catholic priest under the pastoral provision of Pope John Paul II, which made possible the ordination of married former Episcopal priests into the Catholic priesthood. For three years he served as Catholic chaplain at Eastern Maine Medical Center before the effects of Alzheimer’s disease made it impossible for him to work full time. He continued his ministry by visiting residents of Ross Manor until 2010. Throughout his priesthood, Father Arps devoted special attention to religious education for children and adults, and to ministering to the sick and elderly. An intelligent and kind-hearted man, his compassion for those he served never faded.
He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Dr. Corabell Arps of Glenburn; one daughter, Elizabeth Martin and her husband, Allen, of Orono; one son, Joseph Warren Arps III of Glenburn; granddaughter, Audrey, who shared his birthday; and grandson, Connor Joseph, who shared his name. He will be missed by his family and those whose lives he touched. The family thanks Wanda Martin, whose care along with that of his son, Warren, allowed Father Arps to remain at home throughout his illness.
A reception of the body will be held 6 p.m. Monday at St. John’s Catholic Church. Visitation will be afterward until 8 p.m. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. John’s Catholic Church, St. Paul the Apostle Parish, with the Most Rev. Richard J. Malone, Bishop of Maine, celebrant. In recognition of Father Arps’ life of faith and service, those who wish to remember him in a special way may make a gift to the Father Joe Arps Scholarship Fund, care of All Saints Catholic School, P.O. Box 1749, Bangor, ME 04402-1749. Catholic arrangements entrusted to Greenlawn Funeral Directors, Bangor.