Paulist Fr. Gerard Aylward dies at 94

October 7, 2016

paulist_fr-_gerard_aylward_young_priestOur brother, Paulist Fr. Gerard James Aylward, died Friday, October 7, 2016, at the Mary Manning Walsh Home in New York City. He was 94. 

Fr. Aylward had been a member of the Paulist community for 69 years and a priest for 63 years. Over his many decades of ministry, Fr. Aylward served as a missions preacher and as a staff member at our Catholic Information Centers, parishes and campus ministry centers. 

Fr. Aylward was born December 22, 1921, the son of Joseph and Ella Aylward. He was raised in Good Shepherd Church in the Inwood neighborhood of northern Manhattan in New York City, which then was served by the Paulist Fathers. 

He attended the City College of New York from 1939 to 1943 and again in the summer of 1946. 

He served in the U.S. Army from May, 1943, to March, 1946, including time in Hawaii and Japan. During the war, he met Paulist Fr. Richard Malloy, who encouraged his vocation. 

Fr. Aylward made his first promises to our community on September 8, 1947. He was ordained on May 1, 1953, at the Church of Saint Paul the Apostle in New York City by then-Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. 

Fr. Aylward served on the staff of the Catholic Information Center in Grand Rapids, MI, from 1953 to 1957 and 1984 to 1988. He did similar work at the Catholic Information Center in Toronto, Canada, from 1974 to 1979. 

paulist_fr-_gerard_aylwardFrom 1957 to 1959, he was based at St. Ann’s Church in Boston, from which the Paulist Fathers then provided pastoral care for Newman Clubs (Catholic student organizations) at multiple nearby universities. 

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From 1959 to 1965, Fr. Aylward was based in New York City while assigned to our mission band, conducting parish missions and retreats around the country. He did missions again from 1979 to 1984 while based in Toronto. 

Fr. Aylward served on the parish staff of Old St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Chicago from 1965 to 1974. 

From 1988 to 2006, he served in South Carolina, providing pastoral care for parishioners at Saint Andrew Catholic Church, Clemson, SC., Holy Cross Church in Pickens, St. Francis Church in Walhalla and Saint Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, Seneca, SC. 

He had lived in New York City since 2006.

Fr. Aylward was preceded in death by his brother, Kevin.

In addition to his brother Paulists, he is survived by his sister, Ann Aylward of Birmingham, MI; two nephews, Blair and Bruce Aylward; and countless friends.

Fr. Aylward’s wake service will be held 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, October 23, in the second floor chapel of the Paulist Fathers Motherhouse, 415 West 59th St., New York, NY.  His funeral will be celebrated 10 a.m. Monday, October 24, at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle.  The public may attend both.

Following the funeral, Fr. Aylward will be buried in St. Thomas the Apostle Cemetery in Oak Ridge, NJ.