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Fr. William Caffrey S.V.D.


1929 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Fr. William Caffrey S.V.D. Obituary
FR. WILLIAM CAFFREY, S.V.D. March 2, 1929 Sept. 13, 2014 Fr. William Caffrey was born on March 2, 1929 in New York City. He attended Cathedral High School, NY and Divine Word Seminary, Bordentown, New Jersey. He did his novitiate in Conesus, NY and his college studies at Divine Word College, Epworth, Iowa and theological studies at Techny, Illinois. He was ordained on Easter Sunday, March 29, 1959 at Divine Word Chapel in Techny, Illinois. After ordination he was sent to study for a master's degree in Sociology at Catholic University, Washington, DC. After his graduate studies at Catholic University, he was appointed associate pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Greenville, Mississippi. From Mississippi, his superiors appointed him Prefect of Students at Divine Word Seminary, Riverside, California. He taught at the SVD seminary and Notre Dame High School, Riverside. He was Prefect of Students from 1962-68 and Rector of the SVD seminary from 1968-73. From Riverside he was appointed pastor at St. John the Evangelist, Los Angeles 1973-1982. During this time, he became Chaplain of the L.A.P.D. while being involved in the Neo-Catechumenate Communities on the West Coast. In 1982, Father Bill was appointed Mission Director for the SVD Western Province. In 1987 he was appointed principal of Paraclete High School, Lancaster, CA. After 12 years at Paraclete High School in Lancaster, he chose to move on to another experience in his life. He returned to Riverside. He was appointed Rector of the Divine Word Community and Retreat Center in Riverside. Along with a very busy job as Rector, Fr. Bill did hospital ministry at St. Jude Fullerton and helped in supply ministries in parishes around the area. On March 29, 2009, Fr. Bill celebrated his golden jubilee of priesthood ordination. He wrote: "The anniversary celebration of any priest is a celebration of the priesthood of the people of God. Very often, we priests receive the praise and glory that comes with this celebration but this is a celebration of the priesthood of each of you. I am a priest today because of the many thousands of young and old that has touched my life over these 50 years. You have formed me into the priest that Christ has called me to be." On his golden jubilee card that he distributed out to all his friends, he quoted the words of his own mother Mary Caffrey on the day of his priesthood ordination: " I offer you, my son Bill, through Jesus and Mary, to the Eternal Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." September 13, 2014 fifty five years of priestly service came to a peaceful close for Father William Caffrey. All those years were brilliantly spent preaching the joy of the gospel be it in Illinois, Mississippi, California and points beyond. His love for Jesus touched the hearts of everyone he met. He knew who Christ was in his life and he wanted all men and women, young and old to experience this love of the Heart of Jesus. A good priest, a man of deep prayer and profound spirituality, a faithful servant. He was well loved. All throughout his life, Father Bill radiated joy for everyone a true priest after the heart of God down to the very end. We will miss him. Among his files, he kept several copies of the prayer of Archbishop Oscar Romero the prayer that shaped Father Bill's life and ministry. He quoted it in many of his homilies to the community at Riverside: "It helps, now and then, to step back, and take the long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is the Lord's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us. No statement says it all that should be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the church's mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything. That is what we are all about. We plant seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future that is not our own" Bill, our brother in the Lord until we meet again. Enjoy now the place God has prepared for you. He loves you forever. Have a peaceful rest. In lieu of flowers, please send a contribution to the Divine Word Retirement Center, 11316 Cypress Avenue, Riverside, California 92505. Thank you for your kindness to the Divine Word Missionaries. Father Pons Ramos, SVD, Divine Word Center, Riverside, CA. Triumph of the Cross, Sept. 14, 2014. There are two Viewings and Wake Services planned by the SVD community for Father Caffrey: Monday, September 22nd, 5-8 p.m., St. John the Evangelist, 6028 Victoria Ave., Los Angeles, CA and Tuesday, September 23rd, 4-8 p.m., Divine Word Residence, 11316 Cypress Ave., Riverside, CA. The funeral liturgy for Fr. Bill Caffrey will be at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 3774 Jackson Street, Riverside on Wednesday, September 24, 2014. He will be laid to rest at Crestlawn Cemetery-Riverside, close to our Divine Word Center. Please visit www.piercebroscrestlawn.com to offer condolences.


Published in Press-Enterprise on Sept. 18, 2014
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