Decades of faith and service

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55 years

Josephite Father Francis M. Hull was born Dec. 20, 1923, in Philadelphia and graduated from St. Thomas More High School. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in the South Pacific for three years during World War II.

In 1948, he entered the Josephite minor seminary in Newburgh, N.Y., and was ordained in 1957 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Father Hull taught high school and college and served as rector of the Josephite St. Augustine High School in New Orleans. He also served as pastor of Josephite parishes in New Orleans, Houston and Washington. He was editor of the Josephite Harvest for 14 years.

Father Hull has been pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Alexandria since 2002.

50 years

Oblate of St. Francis de Sales Father William J. Ruhl was born in Philadelphia April 19, 1935. He studied at Northeast Catholic High School in Philadelphia and Niagara University in New York. He was ordained an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales in 1962. In 1972, he received his doctorate in theology from Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

Father Ruhl taught graduate theology courses for 30 years. He served as the president of the De Sales School of Theology for 10 years and guided the school to full accreditation by the District of Columbia, the Association of Theological Schools and the Middle States Association.

He served as pastor of two Oblate parishes in North Carolina - St. Mary in Goldsboro and St. Paul the Apostle in Greensboro. While in Goldsboro, he served for five years as the chair of the Priests Council of the Raleigh Diocese.

He served as parochial vicar of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Vienna from 2009 until he retired in June 2011. He still resides at the Vienna parish.

25 years

Father John C. Cregan was born Nov. 13, 1939, in the Bronx, New York. An altar boy since the third grade, he attended St. Margaret of Cortona School, and the nearby Fordham Preparatory School and Fordham University.

While at Fordham, Father Cregan enrolled in the U.S. Marine Corps Platoon Leader Class program and, as a result, served in the U.S. Marine Corps for more than 20 years. He spent tours in North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Cuba, Japan and Vietnam. It was in Vietnam, while lying in a foxhole, looking at the stars and fingering pieces of a broken rosary, that Father Cregan began to realize he was being called to the priesthood.

In the early 1980s, Father Cregan began taking classes at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. He was ordained by Arlington Bishop John R. Keating May 9, 1987.

He served at St. Patrick Parish, Chancellorsville, 1987-91; Church of the Nativity, Burke, 1991-93; and St. Elizabeth Parish, Colonial Beach, 1993-96. In 1996, he was named pastor of Blessed Sacrament in Alexandria, where he remains today.

Father Jerome R. Daly was born July 21, 1931, in Oakland, Calif., to John and Dorothy Daly.

One of three boys, he attended public schools in suburban Philadelphia and graduated from St. Joseph's College in Philadelphia in 1954.

He joined the U.S. Army in 1949 and re-enlisted in 1958 after pursuing a career in insurance. While in the Army, he held most ranks from private to lieutenant colonel, including warrant officer. For the last 22 years of his Army career, Father Daly worked in Army aviation.

After retiring from the Army in 1982, he entered Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., and was ordained May 9, 1987, by Arlington Bishop John R. Keating.

He served as parochial vicar at St. Ambrose Parish in Annandale, 1987-91, and St. Leo the Great Parish in Fairfax, 1991-94. Father Daly served as pastor of St. John the Beloved Parish in McLean, 1994-2000, and of St. Michael Parish in Annandale until his retirement in 2004.

Father Daly lives in a retirement community near Fort Belvoir.

Father Lee W. Gross was born Oct. 28, 1944, in Rapid City, S.D. After graduating in 1962 from Hemphill High School in Landisville, Pa., he enrolled at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pa., earning a bachelor's in 1966.

Father Gross entered Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg and was awarded a master of divinity degree in 1970.

He served as pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church in New York City, 1970-74. He was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1976.

Father Gross served as associate pastor of St. Paul Episcopal Church in Kankakee, Ill., 1976-79, and pastor of St. Andrew Episcopal Church in Grayslake, Ill., 1979-1985. He converted to Catholicism in 1985 and he entered Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. He was ordained to the priesthood by the Arlington Bishop John R. Keating April 3, 1987.

Father Gross served as associate pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Winchester, 1987-91, and St. Agnes Parish in Arlington, 1991-95.

In 1995, he joined the faculty of Mount St. Mary's Seminary as dean of students and coordinator of community liturgy. In 2003, Father Gross was awarded a licentiate of sacred theology from St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore.

Since 2003, Father Gross has served as assistant professor of liturgy and systemic theology at Mount St. Mary's.

The following priests also are celebrating milestone anniversaries:

45 years

Father Robert J. Richter, ordained May 16, 1967, is in residence at Our Lady, Queen of Peace in Arlington.

Father Clarence N. Watkins, ordained May 13, 1967, is retired and lives in Falls Church.

40 years

Missionhurst Father Joseph Giordano, ordained May 27, 1972, resides at Missionhurst in Arlington.

Atonement C. Donald Howard, ordained June 3, 1972, is pastor of Christ the Redeemer Parish in Sterling.

Msgr. Jeremiah H. McCarthy, ordained June 4, 1972, is in residence at St. Rita Parish in Arlington.

35 years

Father Jerome W. Fasano, ordained May 7, 1977, is pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Front Royal.

Atonement Father Arthur M. Johnson, ordained June 4, 1977, is parochial vicar of Christ the Redeemer Parish in Sterling.

Oblate of St. Francis de Sales Father Robert A. Mancini, ordained May 21, 1977, is parochial vicar of St. John Neumann Parish in Reston.

Third Order Regular of St. Francis Father Samuel Vaccarella, ordained May 14, 1977, is St. Joseph Parish in Herndon.

30 years

Franciscan Father Kevin J. Downey, ordained May 15, 1982, is pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2012