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Retired Wyckoff Pastor Thomas O'Leary Dies at 82

O'Leary was the pastor at Wyckoff's St. Elizabeth RC Churchfrom 1988 until his retirement in 2003.

The following is courtesy of the Vander Plaat Funeral Home.

Father Thomas O'Leary died Friday, Mary 9, 2014 at Englewood Hospital, Englewood, NJ. He was 82 years old.

Born the only child of Thomas and Teresa (nee Farley) O’Leary on March 2, 1932 in Englewood, NJ, he was ordained to the priesthood, May 25, 1957 after attending the seminary at Catholic University, Washington, DC where he earned the Licentiate in Sacred Theology.

Following his ordination, Rev. O’Leary‘s first assignment was as Assistant Pastor at Our Lady of the Valley RC Church, Orange, NJ. He remained there until 1968 when he was appointed Assistant Pastor to Our Lady of Sorrows RC Church, South Orange. While assigned to Our Lady of Sorrows RC Church, he introduced to the local Protestant Community “Living Room Dialogue” with regular meetings with members of the Presbyterian Church and Our Lady of Sorrows. During this time, he also taught Religion at Marylawn Girls’ Catholic High School.

In 1974, Fr. O’Leary was appointed by Archbishop Thomas A. Boland to a new position as Director of Field Education at Immaculate Conception Seminary and within the year also was appointed Dean of Students for the Seminary community. He became Pastor of Holy Trinity RC Church, Hackensack in 1984 and served the parish community until 1988.

Msgr. O’Leary served the parishioners of St. Elizabeth RC Church, Wyckoff as Pastor from 1988 until 2003. Along with his pastoral responsibilities at St. Elizabeth’s, he began fundraising for the construction of a new church, additional classrooms, meeting rooms and the conversion of the former church into a Parish Hall. Ground was broken in 1991 and the new church was dedicated in 1992.

After his retirement in 2003, he continued to serve the people of the Archdiocese, while in residence at St. John the Baptist RC Church, Hillsdale.

During his tenure, additional Priestly Ministry included the assignment in 1967 to coordinate the Apostolic Committee Program entitled “Suburban Response to Newark Summer ‘67”, a position held until 1972, he was elected member of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council and served from 1967 through 1972, he served as Coordinator of Priest Study Days from 1970-1972, was elected and re-elected to the Senate of Priests from 1972-1980 and in 1983 was appointed Team Member of an Evaluation Committee to visit U.S. Seminaries as mandated by Pope John Paul II.

Msgr. O’Leary will be interred in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Hanover, NJ. As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be made to Immaculate Conception Seminary, Seton Hall University, Attn; Rev. Msgr. Joseph R. Reilly, 400 South Orange Avenue, South Orange, NJ 07079. Arrangements are by the Vander Plaat Funeral Home, www.vpfh.com, 257 Godwin Ave. Wyckoff, NJ. 

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