Msgr. Paul J. Whitney, 1932-2015

Tue, Jul 28th 2015 08:00 am
Msgr. Paul J. Whitney
Msgr. Paul J. Whitney

Msgr. Paul J. Whitney, a retired diocesan priest, died July 27, 2015, at Rosa Coplon Jewish Home and Infirmary in Getzville. He was 82.

He was born Oct. 1, 1932, in Batavia, to James F. and Katherine (Manning) Whitney. Msgr. Whitney attended the Diocesan Preparatory Seminary in Buffalo and St. Bernard Seminary in Rochester before receiving a licentiate in sacred theology from St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada, and a master's degree in theology from Ottawa University. He was ordained in 1958, in Buffalo, by Bishop Joseph A. Burke.

Msgr. Whitney's first assignment was in the missionary apostolate at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Delevan, where he served from 1958-59. In 1959, he briefly became a weekend assistant and associate director of summer schools at Mother of Divine Grace in Cheektowaga before being transferred to St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Buffalo, where he served as associate pastor from 1959 until 1961.

That year, he became a professor at his alma mater, the Diocesan Preparatory Seminary, where he remained until pursuing graduate studies in Canada in 1968. He was named spiritual director of St. John Vianney Seminary in East Aurora, serving from 1969-74. Msgr. Whitney briefly served as administrator of St. Mary Parish in Pavilion before serving as pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Gowanda from 1975-1982.

In 1982, Msgr. Whitney was given his longest assignment, as pastor of St. Paul's in Kenmore, during which he became a monsignor in 1984. He remained at St. Paul's until 1994. In an overlapping assignment, Msgr. Whitney served as temporary episcopal vicar of the Orleans Vicarate, from 1990-99.

In 1995, Msgr. Whitney was made pastor of St. Mary's in Medina. He retired in 2002, remaining a weekend assistant at St. Christopher's in Tonawanda in 2002 and temporary administrator at Immaculate Conception in East Bethany in 2004.

In addition to parish ministry, Msgr. Whitney served on the diocesan Clergy Personnel Board and Priests' Personnel Board, was a founding chairman of the National Association of Spiritual Directors, served on the Task Force on Spirituality of the American Association of Theological Schools, and was a member of the Theological Committee for Seminary Guidelines for the National Catholic Conference of Bishops in 1971.

He also served as vice president of the Buffalo Priests' Senate and Gowanda Ministerium from 1976-77, and was president of the latter from 1977-79. Additionally, he served as chaplain of the Gowanda Fire Department from 1975-82 and chaplain of the Kenmore Fire Department from 1982-94.

Msgr. Whitney is survived by a brother, John (Julie) Whitney of Vancouver, Wash.; a sister, Francine (James) Sloat of Loveland, Colo.; nephews David (Deanna C.) Sloat, Douglas (Deanna J.) Sloat and Jeffrey (Chanda) Sloat, all from Colorado, and a cousin, Msgr. Francis G. Weldgen of Wheatfield.

Visitation will be held on Thursday 4-8 p.m. at Cooper Funeral Home, 215 West Center Street, Medina. Visitation will also take place Friday 8:30-9:45 a.m. at St. Mary's Church of Holy Trinity Parish, 215 Eagle St, Medina.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Bishop Malone on Friday, 10 a.m., at St. Mary's Church of Holy Trinity Church.


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