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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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in memoriam

Father Gorney: A Spirit of Perseverance

Redemptorist missionary, Reverend Joseph Gorney, died on December 3, 2012 at the Vice-Province of Richmond’s retirement home, St. Alphonsus Villa in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

Father Gorney was born on February 14, 1925 in Baltimore, MD professed his first vows as a Redemptorist on August 2, 1946 ordained on June 17, 1951 and died at 12:30 PM on December 3, 2012.

He attended High School at St. Mary’s College, the Redemptorist Preparatory Seminary, in North East, PA. When he finished his novitiate year in Ilchester, MD he went on to complete his theological studies at Mount St. Alphonsus, the major seminary in Esopus, NY, where he was ordained.

From 1953 to 1961 Father Gorney served in the then-Vice-Province of San Juan, which included Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. His assignments took him to Caguas, Aguadilla, St. Thomas, Frederiksted, and Mayaguez.

Next he served in the Baltimore Province from 1966 to 1970. He was stationed in the Redemptorist parishes of St. Cecilia in New York City, St. Clement’s in Saratoga Springs, NY, and St. Mary’s in Annapolis, MD.

Then from 1970 until the present he served the majority of his priesthood in the Vice-Province of Richmond. His assignments included the cities of Tampa, Opa-Locka, and Wauchula in Florida; Fort Oglethorpe and McDonough in Georgia; and Orangeburg in South Carolina.

In 2002 he began a semi-retirement ministry in New Smyrna Beach but continued assisting regularly in Astor, FL even when he was well into his 80s.

“He was very strong and very prayerful,” remarks his most recent superior, Father Glen Parker. “He was always in chapel at least a half hour before community prayers began. And this spirit pervaded his demeanor with those around him as well. He never complained, he was always very encouraging, and a very nice person to be around. These are virtuous assets in any community, large or small. He was a welcomed addition to our crew here at the Villa.”

This same sentiment, albeit a bit deeper, was voiced by his former superior, Father Karl Aschmann: “There was a lot of apostolic work for us to do in Tampa and whatever job Joe was given, he did it. And he did it well. We worked closely together for six years at the parish, but we weren’t just a team. We were also good friends. In fact, he was one of the best friends that I had. I will miss him.”

“He was a classmate who worked very hard and succeeded because of his dedication to the task,” recalls his classmate, Father Larry Lover. “During our seminary formation, his room was located right next to mine. In those days, our moral theology textbooks were written in Latin. Occasionally, if he wasn’t sure about the correct translation, Joe would knock on my door to ask for advice. He was determined to get it right and he put in the energy and the hours to make sure he got it right.”

“He was a perfectionist,” declares his contemporary, Father Carl Hoegerl. “For example, in the summertime during our recreation days on the Hudson River, Joe would practice the same dive off the dock for hours, over and over again, until he had it down exactly the way it should be. And he carried this same spirit of perseverance into every aspect of his life — work, studies, prayer, and recreation.”

Did he suffer any hardship? Yes, he did. Perhaps the worst was the fact that both of his parents died in the same year, the year when he was about to be ordained. The silent prayer of every man in the major seminary is that his parents will be able to receive his first priestly blessing. Sometimes one parent may not be present to share in this joyful, moving moment. Sometimes both parents may not survive to celebrate the day. But it is extremely rare for both parents to pass in the same year — just months before ordination. Despite this huge emotional loss, Father Joe persevered through his ordination, and through all of his studies, and through all of his apostolic work as a priest here on earth. We pray and rejoice with him now as his perseverance brings him to heaven where he can finally give his parents, John and Elizabeth, his first priestly blessing.


Rev. Joseph Gorney, C.Ss.R.

  • Born: February 14, 1925
  • Professed: August 2, 1946
  • Ordained: June 17, 1951
  • Died: December 3, 2012



December 7
9 a.m.
Sacred Heart of Jesus
600 S. Conkling St.
Baltimore, MD

Funeral Mass
December 7
10 a.m.
Sacred Heart of Jesus

Immediately following Mass.