‘A Holy Priest’


Upon reading of the death of Father Richard J. Neilson, many memories came into mind concerning his years serving the Archdiocese of New York in Manhattan.

Father Neilson was known to be a very holy priest sought by many as a spiritual director. He was a good friend of the late Father Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R., and was even visited by Blessed Mother Teresa, when she was in New York visiting her sisters.

Father was literally “in love” with Jesus in the Eucharist, conducting all-night First Friday Vigils. He spoke much about the Blessed Sacrament when he did Days of Recollection, and encouraged his directees to just sit before the Eucharistic Jesus.

To fully understand his priestly vocation, he once told me that at times he would give a talk to future seminarians teaching them this lesson: “Don’t try to become a popular priest, become a holy priest!”

Lillian O’Connor

Staten Island