Redemptorist Father William Maggs, rector of Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua, died March 6, 2006, at Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia. He was 64 and had been hospitalized for a genetic liver disease.
Father Maggs was born in the Bronx, N.Y., in 1941 and grew up in Bethlehem, Pa. He studied at St. Mary’s Seminary in North East Borough, Pa., and Mount St. Alphonsus in Esopus, N.Y. He was ordained to the priesthood June 19, 1966.
Shortly after he was ordained Father Maggs was sent to Brazil, where he served as a missionary for 20 years. During that time he ran a large parish that spanned 100 miles and included 30,000 Catholics.
After returning to the United States in 1988, Father Maggs served at St. Cecilia Parish in East Harlem and St. Peter the Apostle Church in Philadelphia, where he remained for nearly 15 years. While serving at those parishes, he also traveled throughout the country and preached hundreds of parish missions and retreats.
In July 2005 Father Maggs became rector of Notre Dame Retreat House, which he described in an interview with the Catholic Courier as “the most beautiful place in the world. I tell (people) that God comes here on his day off.”
Redemptorist Father Paul Miller said he first met Father Maggs when they were both missionaries in Brazil. Father Miller, who has served at the retreat house for seven years, said Father Maggs was an outstanding priest and a model of devotion to the Lord, the Eucharist and the Blessed Mother.
“He was a true Redemptorist and a priest’s priest. He lived his life in imitation of Christ,” Father Miller said. “People recognized in him a kind of holiness. … He was like a child in completely trusting God.”
Redemptorist Father Tom Siconolfi, retreat director at Notre Dame Retreat House, said Father Maggs was a great friend and preacher.
“What he preached and what he did were the same thing. He had a real integrity,” Father Siconolfi said.
Father Maggs is survived by two brothers, Kevin and Charles; his sister, Maureen Allocca; and many nieces and nephews.
Father Patrick Woods, provincial of the Redemptorists’ Baltimore Province, presided at Father Maggs’ March 9 funeral Mass at St. Peter the Apostle Church in Philadelphia. Interment was at the Redemptorist Cemetery in Esopus.