Rayner Dray, OFM
1921 – 1990
Fr. Rayner Dray, OFM, was born in Mattapan, Mass., on July 29, 1921. He graduated from St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., and entered the Province’s novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., Aug. 12, 1943.
He professed temporary vows Aug. 14, 1944, and made his profession of solemn vows Sept. 17, 1947. Fr. Rayner was ordained a priest on June 11, 1949.
He expressed a desire to go to Brazil as a missionary, but was sent to Georgia where he evangelized for 34 years instead. He began in 1950 at St. Mary’s parish in Americus and two years later was assigned to St. Augustine Church in Thomasville. He built the Church of Our Divine Savior in Tifton.
From 1956 to 1958, Fr. Rayner was assigned to the newly opened St. Francis Chapel in Providence, R.I., and then went to the Immaculate Conception Shrine in Atlanta, Ga. From 1961 to 1968, he was pastor at St. Mary Church in Americus, Ga., and from 1973 to 1976 served as pastor and guardian of the Atlanta Shrine. Fr. Rayner also ministered to prisoners at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Center. In 1976, he returned to Tifton as pastor and served for eight years.
Fr. Rayner was a friar who loved ministry in the South and dedicated himself with enthusiasm to the Christian formation of children. He was loved by his people. In 1984 he was assigned to Our Lady’s Chapel in New Bedford, Mass.
He died on July 15, 1990, at Youville Hospital, Cambridge, Mass. Fr. Rayner was almost 69 years old, a professed friar for 45 years and a priest for 41 years.