Father Delaney celebrates 60th anniversary

By Maureen Smith

Father Delaney (Photo courtesy of Janice Stansell)

CRYSTAL SPRINGS – Father Tom Delaney will celebrate 60 years as a priest this June. The 83-year-old continues to serve as the pastor of St. John parish and St. Martin of Tours mission. “I plan to continue in active ministry for as long as the Lord gives me breath,” he said during a recent interview. His parish of Crystal Springs St. John has planned a Mass and lunch for Saturday, June 24, starting at 11 a.m.
Father Delaney had to work hard just to get to Mississippi in 1959. He was ready to make the trip after his June 8, 1957, ordination, but an x-ray required for a visa showed a shadow on his lung. When he followed up with a doctor he discovered he had tuberculosis. It took almost a year of treatment and months of monitoring to heal completely before he was allowed a visa. He has never had a lung problem since.
Last July he had an aortic valve replaced, and this year had a malignant spot removed from his head, but he describes himself as being in good health.
“I have enjoyed my service in Mississippi and I have been blessed by the friendship of so many people, brother priests and bishops. I was lucky to know Bishops Gerow, Brunini, Howze (of Biloxi), Houck, Latino and now Bishop Kopacz,” said Father Delaney.
He has served all across the state, starting in Bay St. Louis at Our Lady of the Gulf before the creation of the Diocese of Biloxi. He went on to Greenville St. Joseph, Jackson St. Peter, Pearl St. Jude, Starkville St. Joseph, Port Gibson St. Joseph, Grenada St. Peter, Greenwood Immaculate Heart of Mary and Crystal Springs St. John along with its mission of Hazelhurst St. Martin of Tours. “I hope I have done some good,” said Father Delaney when reflecting on his time here.
Father Delaney also served as the chaplain for the state hospital at Whitfield, Mercy Hospital in Vicksburg, the moderator for the Catholic physicians’ guild and chaplain for Catholic nurses as well as once being a moderator and advocate for the marriage tribunal. “I would like to add one thing, I want to apologize to anyone whose feelings I may have hurt over the years,” said Father Delaney.
(Editor’s note: Father Tom Delaney was inadvertently omitted from the article in the past issue about significant anniversaries. I apologize for the error.)