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Msgr. Paul J. Whitney, retired priest, educator

Oct. 1, 1932 – July 27, 2015

Msgr. Paul J. Whitney, a longtime priest and educator, died Monday at Rosa Coplon Jewish Home and Infirmary in Getzville. He was 82.

Born in Batavia, he attended Diocesan Preparatory Seminary and St. Bernard Seminary in Rochester. He graduated from St. Paul University in Ottawa, where he received a licentiate in sacred theology and earned a master’s degree in theology from Ottawa University. He was ordained in March 1958 at St. Joseph New Cathedral, thereafter serving as missionary apostolate at Blessed Sacrament Church in Delevan from 1958 to 1959.

Before becoming associate pastor at St. Vincent de Paul from 1959 to 1961, he served as associate director and weekend assistant at Mother of Divine Grace Church in Cheektowaga.

An educator, he was a professor at Diocesan Preparatory Seminary from 1961 to 1968 and taught graduate studies at University of Ottawa and St. Paul University in Ottawa from 1968 to 1969. He became spiritual director at St. John Vianney Seminary in East Aurora, serving from 1969 to 1974 and an administrator at St. Mary Church in Pavilion in 1975.

He served as pastor at St. Joseph Church in Gowanda from 1975 to 1982 and at St. Paul Church in Kenmore from 1982 to 1994. He was appointed prelate of honor in July 1984 and temporary Episcopal vicar for Orleans Vicariate, serving 1990 to 1999.

Msgr. Whitney retired in 2002 as pastor at St. Mary Church in Medina, although he still remained active as a temporary administrator at Immaculate Conception in East Bethany until 2004.

Msgr. Whitney was founding chairman for the National Association of Spiritual Directors, a member of the Task Force on Spirituality of the American Association of Theological Schools, Theological Committee for Seminary Guidelines, and National Catholic Conference of Bishops. He served as vice president with the Buffalo Priests’ Senate and vice president of the Gowanda Ministerium.

A chaplain for the Gowanda and Kenmore fire departments, he was also a member of the citizen’s advisory committee for the Gowanda School Board and member of the village committee for Gowanda Development.

Survivors include a brother, John, and a sister, Francine Sloat.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Holy Trinity Parish, 211 Eagle St., Medina.

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