While serving these parishes, Fr. Mullen also worked with Archmere Academy High School in Claymont, Delaware and St. Mark's High School in Newark, Delaware. During this time, Fr. Mullen was blessed with the opportunity to coach football and basketball, serve as a college counselor, guidance counselor, athletic director, sports chaplain, and the commissioner of Delaware high school boys' basketball tournaments.
After working with high school students for 17 years and doubling as a parish priest, OJ then became pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Chestertown, MD.
In addition to serving his church, Father Mullen was also called to serve our nation, and in 1968 was commissioned a First Lieutenant in the Delaware National Guard.
In 1979 Fr. Mullen was transferred into the Army Reserves, assigned to the United States Military Academy Admission Office counseling candidates for West Point. During the summers Fr. Mullen travelled to West Point where he served as a Chaplain for the incoming Cadets at Beast Barracks. With the lure of working in higher education, in 1981 Father Mullen accepted a position to become Associate Chaplain to graduate and law students at the University of San Diego. He set up new programs, took students on retreats and brought in speakers from the Thomas More Society.
Also in 1981, Father Mullen was invited by the Phi Kappa Theta chapter to become Brother Mullen, an invitation he quickly accepted. Furthermore, OJ insisted upon completing the full pledge program.
While at USD from 1981 to 1989, Fr. Mullen took on a multitude of roles serving as chaplain of the football, basketball, and baseball teams as well as involvement with the lacrosse club team. He also celebrated the Sunday evening Mass in Founders Chapel and spent time as a resident director, overseeing the RAs in DeSales Hall. His involvement with Phi Kappa Theta went beyond San Diego with his election to the Fraternity Board of Trustees in 1987.
In 1989, Father Mullen was again invited to serve our nation's young military cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point as an active duty Army Lieutenant Colonel Catholic Cadet Chaplain for the United States Corps of Cadets. He was also a chaplain and Officer Representative for the football and lacrosse teams, assistant coach for the Army Sprint Football team, and involved in numerous academy activities.
In 1997, Father Mullen was promoted to Colonel and assigned as the Senior Army Chaplain in Hawaii. While in Hawaii, Fr. Mullen served a multitude of units including the 25th Infantry Division. After 30 years of active and reserve service, Fr. Mullen retired on August 31,2001, as a Colonel in the United Stated Army. The Catholic Church called Fr. Mullen back to parish ministry, and Fr. Mullen continued his service by becoming Pastor at Holy Family Parish and Academy in Hawaii until June 2004.
While serving Holy Family, Fr. Mullen volunteered as chaplain to the Honolulu Police Department.
In 2004, Fr. Mullen returned to the University of San Diego as a University Chaplain with a multitude of responsibilities, including Chaplain for the football, baseball, basketball teams and the lacrosse club. Father Mullen also found the time to serve as an Advisor to the Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity, and in 2014 became the twenty-fourth alumnus to be elected as Phi Kappa Theta's Fraternity President. Fr. Mullen also served as a member of the Service Academy Selection Committee for Congressman Duncan Hunter and his father, Congressman Duncan L. Hunter, providing much needed insight and guidance to many young men and women as they prepared for careers in the military. He also became a Chaplain for the San Diego Police Department.
No matter the role or assignment, Fr. Mullen consistently brought his faith to many young people with whom he crossed paths. He was approachable, loved to go out to meals and socialize, and was always willing to listen and be a friend.
The number of people Fr. Mullen impacted is best defined by the incredible number of people Fr. Mullen had the opportunity to baptize and marry. Commonly known by students at the University of San Diego and West Point as the Harley-Davidson priest, Fr. Mullen rode motorcycles for over 50 years taking many trips to stay in touch with his impressive network of friends. OJ also loved Fox News and as he defined, the straight shooting' Judge Judy.
He was preceded in death by his mother Margaret Lowery Mullen and his father Edward M. Mullen Sr. He is survived by his siblings, Susan Mullen Kalafut, Edward M. Mullen, Jr., David F. Mullen, Lawrence F. Mullen, four nieces and one nephew.In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the University of San Diego Athletic Department and The West Point Association of Graduates. Funeral Services will be Friday, October 28th at the Immaculata on the University of San Diego campus.
Fr. Mullen will always be remembered for his warm smile, firm handshake, and his signature phrase "Thanks be to God."
Owen passed away peacefully in his San Diego home.
Born in Troy, New York in 1938, Fr. Mullen attended La Salle Institute, a Catholic military high school in Troy, N.Y. After high school, Father Mullen attended Mount St. Mary's University and Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland before becoming ordained for the Catholic Priesthood on May 16, 1964.
He went on to Villanova University in Philadelphia where he obtained a master's degree in educational psychology.
Fr. Mullen's true calling was in supporting young people in their education and faith formation; first in the various parishes where he was a resident, second in the high schools across the state of Delaware, and lastly at the college level while serving as a Chaplain for The University of San Diego and The United States Military Academy at West Point.
After being ordained in 1964, Fr. Mullen supported the numerous communities in the Wilmington Diocese as an associate pastor of Holy Spirit parish in New Castle, Delaware, Corpus Christi parish in Wilmington, Delaware, and St. Mary Magdalen parish in Wilmington, Delaware.