About Lawrence Leary
Father Richard Leary, a Passionist priest and missionary, died at Immaculate Conception Monastery on December 11, 2011 at the age of 93 years old. He was born on August 19, 1918. He was the son of the late Moses L. Leary and the late Lena (Chapman) Leary. Brother of Mrs. Dorothy Millette of Eastham, Massachusetts and Catherine Dowhan of Burlington, VT. Father Leary graduated from Cathedral High School in Burlington, Vermont in 1936. He attended Saint Michael College, Winooski, Vermont and Holy Cross Seminary, Dunkirk, New York. Father Leary entered the Passionists – a Roman Catholic Religious community of priests and brothers dedicated to the Passion of the Christ, contemplative prayer, the popular preaching of parish missions and retreats, and overseas missionary work – in 1938. After completing his novitiate at Saint Paul of the Cross Monastery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he professed his vows in 1939. After studying at Saint Gabriel Monastery, Brighton, Massachusetts and Saint Ann Monastery, Scranton, Pennsylvania, he received his BA in 1942. He then studied theology at Immaculate Conception Monastery, Jamaica, New York, Our Lady of Sorrows Monastery, West Springfield, and Saint Michael Monastery, Union City, New Jersey. He was ordained to the priesthood at Saint Michael Monastery, Union City, New Jersey on April 29, 1946.
Father Leary studied at Laval University in Quebec, Canada. He received his Licentiate in Canon Law in 1948 and then taught canon law at Saint Mary Monastery, Dunkirk, New York, Saint Gabriel Monastery, Brighton, Massachusetts, Immaculate Conception Monastery, Jamaica, New York, Saint Joseph Monastery, Baltimore, Maryland, Holy Family Monastery, West Hartford, Connecticut, Our Lady of Sorrows Monastery, West Springfield, Massachusetts, and Saint Ann Monastery, Scranton, Pennsylvania. Father Leary was principal of Drexel High School in Atlanta, Georgia from 1961-1965. Known for his dedication to the sick, Father Leary was Parochial Vicar at Saint Paul of the Cross, an African American parish in Atlanta, Georgia from 1961-1969. He also was pastor there from 1961-1971. He then devotedly dedicated himself to inner-city ministry in Atlanta from 1971-1977.
Father Leary left the United States in 1977 for a missionary career in the Caribbean nation of Jamaica, West Indies. He pastored parishes in Christiana, Bull Savannah, Balaclava, Black River, Mandeville, and Kingston. He also served in the formation of young Religious in the novitiate at Balaclava and in canonical affairs for the diocese. Throughout his life Father Leary accompanied the poorest of the poor, and he served on various civic organizations and boards and committees that ministered to the downtrodden.
The viewing will be held on Tuesday, December 13, at Immaculate Conception Monastery from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM. There will be a Rosary and Vigil Service at 7:00 PM. Funeral Mass will be held at Immaculate Conception on Wednesday, December 14, at 11:00 AM.