Father William F. Leonard dies at 67

Father Leonard

Father LeonardSUMMERVILLE—Father William F. Leonard, former administrator of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in North Charleston, died Sept. 26.

The funeral Mass was held Sept. 29 at St. Thomas the Apostle and burial was in Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery in Springfield, Pa.

Father Leonard was born Aug. 12, 1943, in Philadelphia, one of seven children of William Francis and Margaret McGonigle Leonard.

He was a graduate of Bishop Neumann High School in Philadelphia, St. Norbert Abbey in DePere, Wis., with a bachelor’s degree in Latin, and the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis., with a master’s in classical languages.

Father Leonard entered the Norbertine order in 1961 and took his solemn profession in 1966. He was ordained a priest by Bishop Gerald McDevitt, auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, on May 16, 1970.

He was incardinated into the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J., in 1991, and held pastoral assignments in Michigan and New Jersey from 1980 to 1999. From 1966 to 1990

Father Leonard’s vocation included education. He taught in high schools, seminary, campus ministry, and served as a retreat master in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.

He also volunteered his time as a hospital and prison chaplain, and founded a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program for adolescents.

He came to the Diocese of Charleston in July 1999 writing in a letter of application that he wanted “to serve the church as best I can and where the needs are great.”

He was assigned as administrator of St. Thomas the Apostle in North Charleston where he remained until taking a medical leave of absence in December 2009.

Father Leonard spent nearly 30 years writing a commentary and reflection on each Sunday reading, including the Psalm, to be used as a resource for Lectionary-based catechetics, parish Scripture classes — which he taught at every parish assignment — homiletic preparation for priests and deacons, and personal spiritual reading.

Messages of condolence may be sent to Kate Johnson, 311 Conowingo Circle, Oxford, PA 19363. Memorial donations may be made to the Diocese of Charleston Priests’ Retirement Fund, 1662 Ingram Road, Charleston, SC 29407.