Father Richard Dellos. (Sun file photo)


By Katherine Long | Editor

Father Richard Dellos, a priest of the diocese for more than 50 years and pastor of St. Joseph-St. Patrick Church in Utica since 2002, died Aug. 11 from COVID-19-related complications, according to diocesan officials. He was 77.

Father Dellos was in his native Endicott when he got sick, Father John Manno, diocesan Vicar for Priests, told the Sun. He was admitted to Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton and died there, Father Manno said.

Father Dellos graduated from Seton Catholic High School and went on to priestly studies at St. Andrew and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester. Ordained May 18, 1968, he ministered in parishes in Fulton, Binghamton, Syracuse, Endicott, Greene, and Utica over the next five decades. His ministry also included service as a jail chaplain and as liaison to the bishop for charismatic renewal.

Father Dellos shared his story of responding to God’s call with the Catholic Sun in 2010. His ministry, he said, had been “full of surprises and I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”

As an altar boy at St. Anthony’s Church in Endicott, Father Dellos enjoyed serving the church, and while attending St. Ambrose Catholic School and Seton Catholic, Father Dellos was impressed by the spirituality of his teachers, the Sisters of Charity. Father Dellos said that when he entered the seminary at 17, he knew nothing of the Charismatic Renewal, which later played a major role in energizing his ministry. “The Charismatic Renewal in 1974 ignited my priesthood with its spiritual opportunities,” he said. “It gave me encouragement and enthusiasm.”

Father Manno recalled Father Dellos as “a fine priest and a good pastor.”

“Every summer for the past ten years or so, Father Dellos, a mutual friend, and I would go to Boston for a Red Sox game…. He was a prayerful man with a big heart,” he said.

Four other priests of the diocese — three retired and one active — are known to have been diagnosed with COVID-19, Father Manno said, and all have since recovered. Of the diagnosed priests, “none of them were in a position to expose others to it [the virus],” he said. One of those priests, Msgr. J. Robert Yeazel, was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March. He has since tested negative for the disease and is continuing to recover.

Calling hours for Father Dellos will be Sunday, August 16, from 4 to 7 p.m. at St. Joseph-St. Patrick Church, 702 Columbia St., Utica. All other services will be private.

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