Paulist Father Gerry Aylward dies at 94

NEW YORK—Paulist Father Gerard “Gerry” James Aylward, who served at Upstate parishes in the Diocese of Charleston, S.C., for 18 years, died Oct. 7. He was 94.

Funeral arrangements were pending as of press time.

Father Gerry had been a member of the Paulist community for 69 years and a priest for 63 years. Over his many decades of ministry, he served as a missions preacher and a staff member at the Paulist Fathers Catholic Information Centers, parishes, and campus ministry centers. He was known by parishioners for telling what he liked to call “funnies” before his homily.

paulist_fr-_gerard_aylward-bw-web2Father Gerry was born Dec. 22, 1921, the son of Joseph and Ella Aylward. He was raised in Good Shepherd Church in Manhattan, which then was served by the Paulist Fathers. He attended the City College of New York from 1939 to 1943 and again in the summer of 1946.

He served in the U.S. Army from May 1943 to March 1946, including time in Hawaii and Japan. During the war, he met Paulist Father Richard Malloy, who encouraged his vocation.

Father Gerry made his first promises to the community on Sept. 8, 1947. He was ordained on May 1, 1953, at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York City by then-Bishop Fulton J. Sheen.

Father Gerry served on the staff of the Catholic Information Center in Grand Rapids, Mich., from 1953 to 1957 and 1984 to 1988, and did similar work at the Catholic Information Center in Toronto, Canada, from 1974 to 1979. From 1957 to 1959, he was based at St. Ann’s Church in Boston, from which the Paulist Fathers then provided pastoral care for Newman Clubs at multiple nearby universities.

From 1959 to 1965, Father Gerry was based in New York City but conducted parish missions and retreats around the country. He did missions again from 1979 to 1984 while based in Toronto.

Father Gerry served on the parish staff of Old St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Chicago from 1965 to 1974.

From 1988 to 2006, he served in the Diocese of Charleston, ministering to parishioners at St. Andrew Church in Clemson, Holy Cross Church in Pickens, St. Francis of Assisi Mission in Walhalla, and St. Paul the Apostle Church in Seneca.

He returned to New York City in 2006.

Memorial donations in his name may be made at