BUTLER N.J. — William Scully, OFM, 78, a professed Franciscan friar for 55 years and a priest for 50, died in Pompton Plains, N.J., on July 15 – the anniversary of his first profession of vows. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated by Lawrence Hayes, OFM, on July 19 at St. Anthony Church in Butler. Joseph Juracek, OFM, preached the homily. A wake was held on July 18.
William was buried at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Butler.
William was born on Feb. 28, 1940 in the Bronx, N.Y, to William and Sarah (née O’Hara) and was baptized on March 17, 1940 at St. Luke’s Church in the Bronx. He attended All Hallows Institute High School in the Bronx.
After receiving a bachelor’s degree from Fairfield, Conn., University in 1961, William entered Holy Name Province’s formation program at St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon N.Y. He was received into the Order of Friars Minor at St. Raphael’s Novitiate in Lafayette, N.J., on July 14, 1962 and professed his first vows on year later. William professed his solemn vows at Christ the King Seminary in Allegany, N.Y., on Aug. 22, 1966. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1967 at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington, D.C.
While completing his studies at Holy Name College in Washington, he decided to study a fifth year at The Catholic University of America, where he earned his master’s degree in international law and diplomacy. From there, he went to Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., for three years to teach political science.
William’s life as a friar included both academic and pastoral work.
From 1972 to 1980, he was a specialist in Southeast Asian history, especially Myanmar, then called Burma. In 1975 and 1978, he went to Myanmar to study at the Defense Research Historical Institute in Ragoon.
William studied and taught at New York University from 1974 to 1985. His doctoral dissertation was on the Burmese military during World War II. During his tenure at NYU, he earned the title of research associate professor in national security at the school of public administration.
In 1980, he was given permission by the Province to serve as a policy analyst of Asian Pacific affairs at the Heritage Foundation. Several years later, the self-described “political junkie” left the foundation and became a special assistant to the late Sen. William Roth of Delaware. William was Roth’s speechwriter and assisted the Senate chaplain in opening Senate sessions with prayer.
In 1987, William was assigned to St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes, N.J., beginning nearly 30 years of parish ministry. In 1995, he was appointed pastor of Our Lady Queen Peace Parish in Hewitt, N.J., where he remained until 2004, when he returned to St. Mary’s for a year. He served at Queen of Peace Parish in Hewitt, N.J, as pastor from 1996 to 2004 and then in 2004 returned to St. Mary’s Parish for a year. In 2005, he was appointed pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Narrowsburg, N.Y.
William retired in 2014 to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J.
Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars – Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.
- “William Scully Marks 50 Years as a Friar” – May 22, 2013, HNP Today
- “Holy Name Friary Honors Jubilarians” – July 19, 2017, HNP Today
- “Narrowsburg Parish Goes ‘Extra Mile’ to Mark 150th Anniversary” – Oct. 18,. 2012 Catholic New York
- “An Ancient Order Maintains a Ministry in the River Valley” – Sept. 18, 2008, The River Reporter