Father John M. Richardson, OFM; Elmira native - Catholic Courier

Father John M. Richardson, OFM; Elmira native

Father John M. Richardson, OFM, a native of Elmira, died Nov. 25, 2010, in St. Petersburg, Fla. He was 82 years old.

Father Richardson attended St. Mary School and Elmira Catholic High School, graduating in 1947. That fall he entered St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y.

He was received into the Order of Friars Minor in Holy Name Province on Aug. 8, 1950, and was given the religious name Remigius, which was shortened to "Gus." He professed first vows on Aug. 13, 1951.

He studied philosophy at St. Stephen’s Friary in Croghan, N.Y., and St. Anthony’s Friary in Butler, N.J., receiving his bachelor of arts degree from St. Bonaventure University in 1953. He then studied theology from 1953-57 in Butler and at Holy Name College in Washington, D.C. He professed his final vows as on Aug. 13, 1954, and was ordained to the priesthood on June 11, 1956.

After completing theological studies, he completed a pastoral internship year at St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, Mass., from 1957-58. He then volunteered for the province’s mission in Goias, Brazil, where he served from 1958-65. Due to health reasons, he returned to the U.S. where he ministered at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston from 1965-68. In 1968, he began a long and successful ministry as a chaplain at the Veterans Administration Hospital in West Haven, Conn., earning commendations from the VA as well as the state of Connecticut. After 20 years of service, he retired as chief of chaplains in West Haven in 1988, and was assigned to St. Francis Friary, New York, N.Y., where he worked as promoter for the Franciscan Missionary Union. He then served as a member of the pastoral staff of St. Francis Chapel in Providence, R.I., from 1991-92, when he was assigned to St. Anthony Friary, Butler, N.J. In 1996, he was appointed pastor of St. Mary Church in Obernburg, N.Y., where he served until 2008, when he retired from active ministry.

Father Richardson is survived by his sister, Sister Therese Richardson, RSM, of Pittsford.

His Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Nov. 30, 2010, at St. Mary, Our Lady of Grace Church in St. Petersburg with burial in Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Clearwater, Fla.

Memorial contributions may be made to The Franciscan Missionary Union, 135 W. 31st St., New York, NY 10001-3403.

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