The Rev. John Anthony Delclos

[Age 67] He served as associate pastor at St. Bernardine's.

May 10, 2007|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,Sun reporter

The Rev. John Anthony Delclos, a retired Roman Catholic priest known for his emotional preaching style, died of cancer Sunday at his Northwood home. He was 67.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Bartlett Avenue, he attended St. Ann's parochial school. He was a 1957 graduate of Loyola High School and earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Loyola College.

He joined the old Maryland National Bank and became its commercial credit department manager, but after six years decided on a career change. He earned a theology degree at St. Mary's Seminary & University and was ordained a priest in 1971.

He was assigned to St. Clement Maria Hofbauer Roman Catholic Church in Rosedale, and in 1975 was named pastor of St. Peter the Apostle in Southwest Baltimore, where he served for two years before resigning because of poor health. He then directed retreats at Manresa-on-the-Severn in Anne Arundel County.

"He had a gorgeous voice and was a very spiritual person," said the Rev. Tom Composto, a priest in Reservoir Hill. "He was the kind of guy who paid attention to the underdogs. He was always teaching, showing the way."

In 1986, he was appointed to the Archdiocese of Baltimore's Division of Adult and Family Ministry and also gave retreats and preached at parish missions in Baltimore and throughout the country.

""He was known for speaking from the heart," said his brother, Victor R. Delclos of Baldwin. "He could put himself on everyone's level."

In 1996, he took a temporary assignment as administrator of St. Bernardine's Parish in West Baltimore and three years later became an associate pastor there.

"He broke the Gospel down for people and made it simple to understand," said the Rev. Edward Miller, pastor of St. Bernardine's.

Shortly before his death, Father Delclos wrote that he wished no flowers at his funeral; instead, he asked that "people ... treat a homeless person with love and compassion and to a lunch or a night (or more) in a hotel."

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 6 p.m. today at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 3615 Harford Road.

Survivors also include two other brothers, Joseph V. Delclos of Baltimore and K. Barry Delclos of Little Rock, Ark.; a niece; and four nephews.

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