Edward Dillon, OFM, a member of the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province, died Friday, June 17, 2022, at St. Catherine of Siena Nursing Home in Caldwell, New Jersey, where he had been living since March 2019. He was 95 years old. Edward was a professed Franciscan friar for 71 years, and an ordained priest for 67 of them.
In addition to spending decades of his friar life in pastoral ministry at parishes in the southeast and the New York metropolitan region, Edward’s other apostolic assignments included assistant at the Custody of the Holy Land Franciscan Monastery in Washington, D.C., from 2003 to 2006; vicar and guardian of the Basilica of the Agony on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem, next to the Garden of Gethsemane, from 1992 to 1998; and spiritual assistant to the Secular Franciscan Order in Virginia (1967 to 1969) and Washington (1969 to 1978), where he gave retreats and missions.
Edward felt at home in the South and became known for a charismatic flair that he brought to his ministry and preaching – which once prompted Maurice (Myer) Brick, OFM, to proclaim, “Ed really was a Baptist minister who liked to say Mass!”
Born on April 23, 1927 to John and Anna (Molloy) Dillon in New York City and raised on Long Island, Edward attended St. Raymond’s grammar school in East Rockaway, and Chaminade High School in Mineola before transferring to Cathedral High School in Brooklyn.
He was received into Holy Name Province in August 1949, made his first profession one year later in Paterson, New Jersey, and professed his solemn vows in September 1953 in Washington, DC. Edward was ordained to the priesthood in June 1955 at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington. He studied philosophy at St. Stephen’s in Croghan, New York, and at St. Anthony’s in Butler, New Jersey, receiving a bachelor of arts degree from St. Bonaventure University in 1951. He studied theology at Holy Name College in Washington.
Edward held the positions of pastor, parochial vicar, administrator, and assistant at churches in New York (St. Francis of Assisi and St. Stephen’s, both in Manhattan, and St. Patrick’s in upstate Buffalo); New Jersey (St. Elizabeth in Wyckoff); North Carolina (St. Philip’s in Statesville and St. Anthony’s in Asheville); and South Carolina (St. Gerard’s in Aiken).
After retiring from active ministry in June 2006, Edward took up residence at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he lived until May 2013, when he moved to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, New Jersey, the Province’s then-skilled nursing care facility. He later moved in 2019 to St. Catherine of Siena Nursing Home.
Edward is survived by his Franciscan confreres, his sister-in-law Alice Dillon of East Rockaway, New York, and several nieces and nephews.
A visitation was held on June 21, 2022, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial, both at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Butler, New Jersey. Burial was at Mount Calvary Cemetery, also in Butler.