Saturday, July 20, 2024

Obituary: Father William Sullivan

Father William SullivanFather William J. Sullivan, 88, of Lancaster, passed away Saturday, June 19, 2021, at his residence at St. Anne’s Retirement Community, in Columbia.

He was born in Mount Carmel, a son of the late William Henry and Julia Antoinette (Burke) Sullivan.

He graduated from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Elementary School, Mount Carmel Catholic High School, St. Charles College in Catonsville, Md., and St. Charles Borremeo Seminary in Overbrook, and earned his master’s degree in religious education from LaSalle University.

Father Sullivan was ordained to the priesthood on March 14, 1959, at St. Patrick Cathedral in Harrisburg, by Bishop George L. Leech.

His assignments included St. Thomas More Parish in Northumberland; St. Francis Xavier Parish, Saint Peter Parish in Elizabethtown, St. Joseph Parish in York; Trinity High School (chaplain, assistant principal and principal) in Camp Hill; St. Patrick Parish in Carlisle, Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Marysville; St. Joseph Parish in Mechanicsburg; St. Leo the Great Parish in Rohrerstown and St. Joseph Parish in Mechanicsburg, from where he retired.

Father Sullivan also served the Knights of Columbus, the Committee for Aid to Needy Parishes, the school board of Trinity High School and as the head of personnel for the Diocese of Harrisburg.

Father Sullivan had a deep love of the priesthood. He was known to have described himself as a “happy priest,” evidenced by his warm smile and handshake. He was known for his storytelling, whether funny or poignant, to fit any situation or homily. Father Sullivan carried a special pride in his Irish-American heritage.

Recognized in the 1976 Trinity High School yearbook for his “immeasurable depth, sincere efforts, outstanding care, and gentleness,” he was a man deeply devoted to the Lord and to his own work for the Church.

Father Sullivan is survived by two nieces, Eileen M. Usman, of Greenbrier, Tennessee, and Frances M. Stanford and her husband, Gary D., of Phenix City, Alabama, several great nieces and nephews, several grand nieces and nephews, and several cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Julia and William “Bill” Sullivan, a sister, Rose Marie Hannon, and brother-in-law, William “Bill” Hannon.

A Mass of Transferral will be celebrated at 7 p.m. on Tuesday June 29 at St. Leo the Great Church in Rohrerstown with Father Peter I. Hahn as celebrant. All are welcome to the viewing from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the church. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Wednesday June 30 at the church by Bishop Ronald Gainer. A second viewing will be from 9 -11 a.m. Wednesday prior to Mass. All are welcome to Father Sullivan’s final farewell and commendation graveside service at noon on Thursday July 1 at All Saints Cemetery in Elysburg.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in memory of Father Sullivan to St. Leo the Great Parish, Trinity High School, or St. Joseph Parish in Mechanicsburg. Father Sullivan’s funeral Mass will be live-streamed on St. Leo Parish’s website, Condolences can be shared with the family at

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