Father William Caffrey, a priest of the Divine Word Missionaries order with a long history of ministry in the Diocese of San Bernardino, passed away on September 13.
He was born on March 2, 1929 in New York City. He attended Cathedral High School, NY and Divine Word Seminary, Bordentown, New Jersey. He was ordained on Easter Sunday, March 29, 1959 at Divine Word Chapel in Techny, Illinois. After his graduate studies at Catholic University, Washington D.C. he was appointed associate pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Greenville, Mississippi.
In 1962 his superiors appointed him Prefect of Students at Divine Word Seminary in Riverside. He taught at the SVD seminary and nearby Notre Dame High School. In 1968 he became rector of Divine Word Seminary, a post he held for five years.
From Riverside he was appointed pastor at St. John the Evangelist, Los Angeles 1973-1982. During this time, he became Chaplain of the Los Angeles Police Department while being involved in the Neo-Catechumenate Communities on the West Coast. In 1982, Father Bill was appointed Mission Director for the SVD Western Province. In 1987 he was appointed principal of Paraclete High School, Lancaster, CA.
In 1999 he returned to Riverside to serve as Rector of the Divine Word Community and Retreat Center in Riverside.
On March 29, 2009, when he celebrated his golden jubilee of priesthood ordination, he shared:
“The anniversary celebration of any priest is a celebration of the priesthood of the people of God.
“Very often, we priests receive the praise and glory that comes with this celebration but this is a celebration of the priesthood of each of you. I am a priest today because of the many thousands of young and old that has touched my life over these 50 years. You have formed me into the priest that Christ has called me to be.”
In lieu of flowers, please send a contribution to the Divine Word Retirement Center, 11316 Cypress Avenue, Riverside, California 92505.