PATERSON, N. J. — Funeral services were held at St. Bonaventure Church here on Feb. 21 for Thomas Sullivan, OFM, who died Feb. 18 in Wayne, N.J.
Thomas, 78, was a professed Franciscan friar for 56 years. He was born June 29, 1930 in Melrose, Mass., to Thomas and Helen (nee Lucey) Sullivan. He was baptized July 20, 1930, at St. Mary’s Church in Melrose. He attended the Melrose Public School, graduating in 1949 from Boy’s Catholic High School in Malden, Mass.
Thomas was received into the Franciscan Order on Aug. 11, 1951, by Mathias Faust, OFM, at St. Bonaventure Church, receiving the religious name of Valerian. He professed his simple vows Aug. 13, 1952, in Paterson before Celsus Wheeler, OFM. He studied philosophy at St. Anthony’s, Butler, N.J., and theology at Holy Name College, Washington, D.C. He professed solemn vows Aug. 16, 1955, at Christ the King Seminary, Allegany, N.Y., before Donald Hoag, OFM. In 1966, he reverted back to his baptismal name. Thomas was an alumnus of St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y.
For 25 years, Thomas was sacristan and doorkeeper at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson. He held similar posts at St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street in New York City and at Sacred Heart Friary in East Rutherford, N.J. In 1999, he retired to St. Anthony Friary in Butler, where he was sacristan and telephone operator.
On Feb. 20, John Mahon, OFM, presided and John Pierce, OFM, both of Butler, gave the eulogy at a wake service at St. Bonaventure Church. The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Feb. 21 also at St. Bonaventure. Thomas Conway, OFM, was the principal celebrant and John Pierce gave the homily. Thomas was interred at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Totowa, N.J.
Condolences may be sent to his sister, Mrs. William Mulcahy, 54 Bay State Road, Melrose MA 02176.