CRANSTON — Rev. Richard A. Donnelly, 72, pastor emeritus of St. Mark Parish, Cranston, died May 21. Born in Providence, son of the late Francis and Mildred (Boyce) Donnelly, he attended St. Paul School, Cranston and LaSalle Academy, Providence.
In preparation for the priesthood, he studied at Our Lady of Providence Seminary, Warwick and St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, MD. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 9, 1962 at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, Providence by Bishop Russell J. McVinney.
After a summer assignment at Blessed Sacrament Parish, Providence, Father Donnelly was appointed part-time assistant pastor at St. Joseph Parish, North Scituate and teacher at LaSalle Academy, Providence, and in 1965 he was named spiritual director at the same school.
In September 1967 he was transferred to St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, Johnston as part-time assistant pastor. In 1968 he became part-time assistant pastor at St. Patrick Parish, Providence and in that same year was also appointed teacher at Our Lady of Providence Seminary High School. In 1971 Father Donnelly became part-time assistant pastor at St. Paul Parish, Cranston and in 1976 he was named director of the Diocesan Transitory Diaconate Program.
In July 1981, he was appointed pastor of St. Clement Parish, Warwick while continuing as director of the Diocesan Transitory Diaconate Program. In addition to his parish duties, from September 1981 Father Donnelly served as Episcopal Deanery Vicar for the West Bay Region No. 9 and as a member of the Council of Priests and College of Consultors (1990). For many years, he was very active in the Respect Life movement and also served as spiritual director for the World Apostolate of Fatima (The Blue Army).
In June 1991 Father Donnelly was appointed pastor of St. Mark Parish, Cranston where he remained until July 2005, when he retired as pastor emeritus.
After his retirement from parochial duties, he remained at St. Mark rectory, where he assisted with parish work. In February 2006, because of deteriorating health, he moved to Scalabrini Villa, North Kingstown, and from there to the Villa at St. Antoine, North Smithfield in 2007.
Father Donnelly is survived by his brother, Paul B. Donnelly of Fredericks, MD and several nieces and nephews. He was the brother of the late Francis J. Donnelly, Jr.
A concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial was offered for the repose of his soul on May 24 at St. Paul Church, Cranston with Bishop Thomas J. Tobin as the main celebrant and Bishop Francis X. Roque and other priests concelebrating. Father Michael J. Woolley, pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Woonsocket, was the homilist. Burial was in St. Ann Cemetery, Cranston.