Rev. William M. Gallagher


Rev. William M. Gallagher, 82, senior priest of the Diocese of Providence, died on July 12, 2007.

Born in Providence,he was the son of the late John F. and Elizabeth M. (Byrne) Gallagher. He attended St. Paul's Grammar School, Cranston and LaSalle Academy, Providence. After studies at Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y., and Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., he prepared for the priesthood at St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore. He was ordained a priest on May 30, 1953 at the Cathedral of SS. Peter & Paul, Providence, by Bishop Russell J. McVinney.

Father Gallagher served as assistant pastor of St. Rita Church, Warwick (1953-1954); at Sacred Heart Church, Woonsocket (1954-1956); and at St. Augustin Church. Newport (1956-1958). In August 1956, he was also appointed a part-time teacher at the former St. Catherine Academy, Newport, followed by a similar appointment at DeLaSalle Academy, also in Newport. In June 1959, he became chaplain at Stella Maris Home in Newport.

In September 1963, be became assistant pastor of St. John Church, Slatersville. A year later, he was transferred to St. Brendan Church, Riverside. In the spring of 1973, Father Gallagher was appointed assistant and then the pastor of St. Joseph Church, Pascoag. While there, he also served as Dean of the Northern RI Deanery No.15 for three terms.

In January 1979 he resigned as pastor of St. Joseph in order to accept the presidency of Pope John XXIII Medical-Moral Research and Education Center in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1985, he was transferred to the same center in Braintree, Massachusetts and remained there until January 1988. After sabbatical studies, he returned to the Diocese and in March 1990 he was appointed administrator pro tem of St. John the Baptist Church, Pawtucket. In June 1991, he became the president at the Center for Christian Bioethics, Dartmouth, MA, and on weekends, he assisted in various parishes until September 2000, when he retired.

In addition to his other duties in the Diocese, Father Gallagher served as chaplain to the Riverside Circle of the Daughters of Isabella (1969) and on the board of directors of the former Providence Visitor for six years.

He is survived by two brothers: Rev. Joseph Gallagher, Pastor Emeritus of the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, Providence, of South Dartmouth, MA, and Daniel J. Gallagher of Manchester, Connecticut; a sister: Maryknoll Sister Rose Bernadette Gallagher of Maryknoll, New York. He was the brother of the late Vincent R., Francis A., John F. Gallagher and Catherine F. Moniz.

A concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial for the repose of his soul on was celebrated July 18 at St. Peter Church, Warwick, with Rev. Joseph Gallagher as the main celebrant and Bishop Louis E. Gelineau as the homilist. Burial was in St. Ann Cemetery, Cranston.