Published July 15, 2020
HARTFORD, Conn.—Father Thomas A. Reilly, MS, 76, a Missionary of Our Lady of La Salette, died July 12 at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut. He was 76 years old. Born Nov. 4, 1943, in Springfield, Mass., he was the son of the late William and Mildred (Dudley) Reilly. He was raised in Thompsonville, Connecticut. Father Reilly was ordained on May 27, 1972 at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Hartford.
Following ordination, he served at the La Salette Seminary in Ipswich, Mass., before working as a parish priest including a post at St. Matthew Church in Tyrone. In 1981, he started a series of administrative and leadership positions with the La Salettes, including nine years as provincial superior.
In 2003, he was appointed pastor of St. Ann Church, Marietta. While ministering there, he established a columbarium, completed a major remodel of the church and rallied for parishioner involvement in mission trips and ministries that supported the sick, the grieving, the widowed and the homeless. He could be tough yet compassionate. His dry sense of humor and his quick wit were traits not seen by many. He was a visionary, always ready to take a chance on people.
After retiring from ministry in 2017, he moved to Texas then to the Hartford House in Connecticut in 2019 where he resided until his death.
Father Ray Cadran, MS, current pastor of St. Ann, expressed his gratitude that Father Reilly left such a vibrant community of faithful servants to shepherd.
“He was dedicated to calling into service the gifts and talents of the laity for the sake of the mission Christ entrusted to St. Ann’s,” said Father Cadran.
Church members are also recalling the late priest’s dedication to the community.
“From candles and backpacks for the homeless to mission trips, Father Tom was exactly what St. Ann’s needed during his 14 years in Marietta,” said Jack Busche, parishioner.
In addition to his La Salette community, Father Reilly is survived by his brothers, Pat Reilly of Connecticut and Kevin (Louise) Reilly of North Carolina; a sister, Mary Maguire of Connecticut; his brother-in-law William Higgins and many more relatives and friends. He was predeceased by his sister, Ellen Higgins.
Visiting hours will be held at St. Ann on Monday, July 20 from 7-9 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Tuesday, July 21 at 11 a.m. at St. Ann’s. Due to the pandemic, seating is limited and masks and reservations are required. The funeral will be streamed on St. Ann’s website and be available to view after the Mass as well. Visit st-ann.org for more information.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette Retirement Fund, care of St. Ann Church.