Msgr. Whalen is the first Farrell graduate to serve as the school’s principal, having been appointed in 2010. But his roots with the school go back even further, since his family knew Msgr. Joseph Farrell himself, and some say it was simply fate that he would one day lead the school.
Msgr. Whalen followed his brother Michael (Class of 1971) to Farrell and immediately became involved in the school. He wrote for The Lion, worked on the yearbook staff, and served on the Student Council, the ushers society, forensics and Project Omega (forerunner of TCM). He also made up his mind to be a priest while sitting in the Farrell Chapel one morning.
Following his graduation from Farrell, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Cathedral College, then was sent to the North American College in Italy to study at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he received his S.T.B. in theology.
Ordained in 1984, he returned to Italy for another year while he continued his education at Accademia Alfonsiana and obtained a degree in moral theology in 1985. Upon his return to the U.S. he was a teacher at Resurrection High School in Rye, N.Y. from 1985-87.
He “came home” for the first time in 1987 when he was appointed chairman of the Religion Department at Farrell, where he stayed until 1990 when he was named secretary to John Cardinal O’Connor. He stayed in that post for two years, and was named a Prelate of Honor (monsignor) by Cardinal O’Connor.
He went back to the Accademia in Rome in 1990 to begin work on his doctorate, and completed work in moral theology in 1995. From there he was named Vice Rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers. He served as Rector of St. John Neumann Seminary residence in Riverdale, N.Y. from 1998-2001 when he was named pastor at St. Benedict’s the Bronx, while continuing to serve as an adjunct professor at St. Joseph’s Seminary.
Before being named principal at Farrell, he headed St. Joseph-St. Thomas Parish on Staten Island.
In addition to his duties as principal, Msgr. Whalen also chairs the Religion Department and teaches a number of classes, including religion to Scholars.