CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

Print Version    Email to Friend
Final rest for priest of many missions

Hong Kong (SE): Maryknoll Father William Galvin died at Mission St. Teresa’s, Ossining, New York, the United States of America (US) on April 21.  He was 86-years-old and would have celebrated his 60th in the priesthood in June.

Born in Kew Gardens, New York, on 25 June 1929, he entered the newly-opened Maryknoll Apostolic College on 11 September 1947 in Lakewood, New Jersey. He made his final oath to Maryknoll in June 1955 and was ordained a priest in Maryknoll Chapel by Francis Cardinal Spellman, then-archbishop of New York, on 9 June 1956.

Father Galvin’s first assignment was St. Joseph parish in Hilo, Hawaii, where he was assistant pastor at for three years. In 1959, he was transferred to the new Maryknoll mission in Mindanao, The Philippines. After language school in Davao City, he was assigned to the parish of St. Francis Xavier, Manay—among the first Maryknollers sent to Davao Oriental. In 1961, he was named pastor of Señor Santiago parish in Cateel, where he built and was director of the Maryknoll High School of Cateel.

In 1965, he returned to the US to take up the post of spiritual director of Maryknoll College Seminary in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. He was elected by the Philippine Region as its delegate to the 1966 General Chapter and, in July 1967, he was elected to a five-year term as regional superior of the Philippine Mission and was also chairperson of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of Men of the Philippines from 1969 to 1972. He received the Father Peypoch Award from Ateneo de Manila University in 1972.

Father Galvin was again elected delegate of the Philippine Region to the 1972 General Chapter after which he became assistant pastor at San Nicholas parish, on the east coast of Mindanao. In 1974 he returned to the US to be the director of the Maryknoll Mission Research and Planning Department. In 1977, he volunteered to go to Nepal and spent the next nine years in Katmandu where he set up an adult education programme, completely run by Nepalis that continues to this day.  

In 1986 he returned to the US again to be director of Orientation (Novitiate) for Maryknoll Seminarians in New Rochelle, New York.  

In 1990 he was appointed coordinator of the Maryknoll Spiritual Renewal Programme in the Holy Land, where he directed two 10-week programmes from 1990 to 1998.  In 1996 he was appointed Coordinator of Continuing Formation/Education, and Director of the Maryknoll Formation and Education Department.

In January 1999 his lifelong dream of being a missionary in China was fulfilled with his assignment to the China/Hong Kong Region. He taught English at Foshan University in Guangdong. In 2003, he moved to Shenyang, Liaoning province, where he taught at the Regional Seminary and Northeastern University. He left China in 2010 because, as he was over 65-years-old, the government deemed him too old. 

Father Galvin then took up residence at Stanley House in Hong Kong and, at the age of 80, wrote the 460-page History of Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers in Hong Kong 1920-2010. 

He helped out at St. Anne’s parish, Stanley, and was chaplain for the weekly Alpha Programme on Christianity and also had a bible discussion group for 10 men every Monday evening at Stanley House. Medical issues necessitated his return to the US in June 2015. 

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at Queen of Apostles Chapel on April 26 followed by burial in Maryknoll Society Cemetery.

May he rest in peace.

More from this section