Fr. William Delaney, C.PP.S., died at 3 p.m. on Monday, July 31 at Mercy Retirement and Care Center, Oakland, Calif. He was 87.
Fr. Delaney was born in Oakland on May 28, 1936, to William and Mary Margaret (Murphy) Delaney. Having met Precious Blood priests at his home parish, St. Barnabas, in Alameda, Calif., he joined the Congregation in 1956 at St. Charles Seminary in Carthagena, Ohio, and was ordained on June 8, 1963.
Fr. Delaney was active in parish and education ministries and in leadership during his 60 years as a priest.
After his ordination he served briefly at parishes in Oklahoma then at St. Anthony Church in Detroit; and St. Barnabas in Alameda.
In 1964, he was appointed an instructor at Del Bufalo Seminary in Liberty, Mo., and in 1965 became a member of the Kansas City Province, then the Province of the Pacific. He was appointed head of the religious education department at Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa, Calif., and later served as the faculty house superior and the principal.
Fr. Delaney served as provincial secretary from 1970–74.
For many summers, Fr. Delaney studied at the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University in Chicago. In 1970, he received a master of religious education degree.
From 1977–90, Fr. Delaney was the associate pastor then pastor of St. Anthony Church in Manteca, Calif. He also served two terms on the provincial council.
Fr. Delaney also ministered at St. Agnes Parish, Los Angeles, as pastor (1990-2001), and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Los Angeles, beginning in 2001. He returned to St. Agnes as senior pastor in 2005, accepting the position of pastor pro tem in 2014.
In 2015, Fr. Delaney retired to Sonnino Mission House in Berkeley, Calif. He moved to Mercy Retirement and Care Center in 2017.
Survivors include his sisters, who both belong to the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, Sr. Maureen Delaney, SNJM, of Portland, Ore., and Sr. Rosemary Delaney, SNJM, of Oakland.
Fr. Delaney’s lifelong commitment to social justice and to the poor began at home, where he witnessed his father’s tireless work with the St. Vincent de Paul Society. In turn, Fr. Delaney inspired countless others in the parishes where he served and in his religious community. Fr. Delaney understood that a good shepherd not only cares for those who are in his parish but also leads them out into the world to make a difference in the neighborhood where they live.
He was in his 40s and assigned to St. Anthony in Manteca when he learned Spanish, so he could better serve the multicultural community there. The parish included people from many walks of life and ethnic backgrounds, and Fr. Delaney was able to bring them together and see each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. The spirit of the Gospel of justice and peace guided his ministry and leaves a legacy of hope in the people and the places where he has served.
That includes the Mercy Retirement and Care Center, where he spent his last years. While there, he was in ministry, to the staff, many of whom were Spanish speakers, and to other residents. He regularly led the rosary, including Precious Blood prayers. He went to all the activities and made himself a part of the community there. To the end of his life, it was important to him to minister to the people of God.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, August 11 at 10 a.m. at the Holy Spirit Chapel of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary Center, 65 W. Rincón Ave, Campbell, Calif. Fr. Joseph Nassal, C.PP.S., will preside.
Burial will take place at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery and Mortuary, 26320 Mission Blvd, Hayward, Calif.
May he rest in peace.
Memorial donations may be made to the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, United States Province.