Father Richard Orlando; Lyons pastor - Catholic Courier

Father Richard Orlando; Lyons pastor

Father Richard Orlando, a diocesan priest for 58 years and a longtime pastor of Lyons’ St. Michael’s Parish, died of complications from congestive heart failure Jan. 27, 2006, at Imperial Point Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 82 years old.

Father Orlando grew up in Rochester’s Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, attending the parish school as well as St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries before being ordained in 1947. He served as assistant pastor at St. Francis Xavier, Rochester, from 1947-54; Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Rochester, from 1954-55; St. Anthony of Padua, Rochester, from 1955-58; Our Lady of Mt. Carmel again from 1958-63; Holy Rosary, Rochester, from 1963-66; and St. Helen’s, Gates, from 1966-68.

His first and only pastorate began in 1968 at St. Michael’s in Lyons, where he would remain for the next 25 years.

“He did a lot of upkeep of the property, and he was a very good administrator. He kept things in balance; he did keep the place up financially,” said Father William Darling, who currently serves as parochial administrator of St. Michael’s.

“He was a good priest. He was conservative; he believed in the rules and was very set in his ways. He liked things black and white,” said Father Paul Freemesser, a retired diocesan priest who was a close friend of Father Orlando’s.

Yet at St. Michael’s, Father Orlando faced the challenge of implementing liturgical changes from the Second Vatican Council, Father Freemesser observed. “You do the best you can, and I think he did,” the priest said. “He did a good job in Lyons.”

Father Freemesser described Father Orlando as very well-liked among his priest friends. “We had a lot of fun together. He always had an interesting remark on something. … He was always affable company.”

“He had a very clever way with words. He could be very witty, always quite good company to be with,” agreed Father Richard Brickler, pastor of St. Boniface in Rochester. “He could say very humorous things, and he loved the repartee; I think he liked those who could go back and forth with him. He was wonderful at retorts.”

“I found him very kind and understanding,” added Father Anthony Calimeri, a retired diocesan priest who is a member of Father Orlando’s ordination class.

After retiring from his pastorate at St. Michael’s in 1993, Father Orlando resided at St. Thomas More Rectory in Rochester and occasionally filled in at parishes. He later resided at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse and also spent several winters at his residence in Fort Lauderdale, where he lived full time for the last 18 months of his life.

Father Orlando’s funeral Mass was scheduled for Feb. 1 at St. Anne Church in Rochester, with Bishop Matthew H. Clark presiding. Interment was set for Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

He is survived by nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

Donations in Father Orlando’s memory may be made to the diocesan office of the Propagation of the Faith, 1150 Buffalo Road, Rochester, NY 14624.

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