Rev. William J. Gallagher, 95
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Worcester - Father William J. Gallagher, 95, the oldest priest in the Worcester Diocese, died Wednesday, December 19, 2012, at the St. Francis Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. He was born on Nov. 28, 1917 in Glanworth, County Cork, Ireland, the son of John and Hannah (O'Neill) Gallagher. Father Gallagher graduated from Christian Brothers Secondary School, Fermoy, Cork, and St. Mary's College. He did his seminary studies in France during World War II and several times had to change seminaries as the Nazis expanded their occupation of France. Eventually studying in Toulouse behind enemy lines, Fr. Gallagher assisted the French Underground in smuggling escaped Allied prisoners to Spain. Father Gallagher was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Angers, France where he taught at three colleges and served as a chaplain for U.S. Army troops stationed in Chinon, Ingrandes and Saumur. He accepted an invitation from Bishop John J. Wright to come to the Worcester Diocese in 1956. He was assigned in January 1957, to St. Bernard Parish, in Worcester as assistant pastor. Subsequently he served as assistant pastor at St. Aloysius Parish in Rochdale, Our Lady Immaculate Parish in Athol, St. Augustine Parish in Millville, and Notre Dame Parish and St. Christopher Parish, both in Worcester. He was named pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Baldwinville on Oct. 3, 1974. He helped bring the Marian Movement of Priests to the Worcester area in 1976. He remained active in retirement helping with retreats and celebrating Masses, including pro-life Masses at St. John's Church and St. Paul Cathedral, and First Friday Masses in the Problem Pregnancy chapel.
A Funeral Mass of will be held Saturday, December 22, at 11:00 AM in the Cathedral of Saint Paul, 15 Chatham Street, Worcester. Burial will follow in Gethsemane Cemetery, Athol. Visiting Hours will be held Friday, December 21 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM in the Cathedral with a Vigil Service to be held at 7:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the, Diocesean Priest Retirement Fund, 49 Elm Street, Worcester, 01609. Arrangements are under the care of Callahan and Fay Brothers Funeral Home, 61 Myrtle Street. To place an on-line, condolence, please visit.
Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Dec. 20 to Dec. 21, 2012