Msgr. Paul Michael O’Connor, retired pastor, dies

Msgr. Paul Michael O’Connor, 96, former pastor of St. Pius X Church in Cherry Hill for three decades, died Feb. 17.

Born in Collingswood on Oct. 15, 1916, he attended Immaculate Conception Seminary in Darlington, N.J., before being ordained on March 17, 1945 in Camden by Bishop Bartholomew J. Eustace.

His first assignment was at Immaculate Conception, Bridgeton, where he served as parochial vicar from 1945-1952. From 1952-1965, he was parochial vicar at St. Joseph in East Camden.
From 1965 until his retirement in 1996, he served as pastor at four parishes: Immaculate Heart of Mary, Woodlynne (1965-1967); Most Holy Redeemer, Westville Grove (1967-1969); St. Pius X, Cherry Hill (1969-1983); and St. Joseph, Sea Isle City (1983-1996).

Msgr. O’Connor also worked with both Worldwide Marriage Encounter, and Marriage Enrichment.

Father Michael Rush, who first met Msgr. O’Connor when the two were serving at St. Joseph, Msgr. O’Connor as pastor and Father Rush as parochial vicar, recalled a “very spiritual” priest who loved to ride horses (he owned a Tennessee Walker), enjoyed painting portraits, and performing magic tricks.

Msgr. Paul O’Connor “enjoyed people, and loved God, the Blessed Mother, the Eucharist, and life,” Father Rush said.

He is predeceased by his parents, Patrick and Nellie O’Connor; brothers James and Msgr. Edward O’Connor, a priest of the Camden Diocese; and sisters Catherine O’Neill, and Sr. Patricius, a Sister of Mercy who also served in the Camden Diocese; sister-in-law, Marilyn Masciulli; nephews Charles O’Neill, Robert O’Neill, Patrick O’Connor, and Daniel O’Connor; and nieces Helen Marie Venezia, and Sharon O’Connor.

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