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Farewell to Monsignor Bill Hatcher, Saint James Pastor Emeritus

By on Dec 17 2013.
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Monsignor William Hatcher

Monsignor William Hatcher

Monsignor William Hatcher, who retired this year as Pastor of Saint James the Apostle Church in Springfield, New Jersey, died on Tuesday, December 17.  The son of William and Florence Hatcher, he was born in Jersey City, New Jersey.  He graduated from Seton Hall University in 1967 with a B.A. in Classical Languages and went on to receive a Master of Divinity in Pastoral Theology from Immaculate Conception Seminary in 1975.

Monsignor Hatcher was ordained a priest in 1971 and was given the honorific Monsignor in 1992 after being granted the title “Chaplain of His Holiness” by the Pope.  He served as pastor of Saint James for the past seven years and recently celebrated his 40th anniversary of ordination.  Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with cancer in 2011.  Recently, the disease spread and he had been in hospice care.

Many in the community are mourning his loss.  Saint James parishioners are saddened by the news and remember Monsignor Hatcher as a wonderful man loved by all.  The students of Saint James the Apostle School prepared a video tribute to him last Friday.

On Facebook, more fond memories were offered, “Msgr. Bill loved singing, and always enjoyed the Christmas pageant, especially as the children sang his favorites.”  Father Jim Worth, Parochial Vicar at Saint James, remarked, “Everyone loved him. He was a joy filled priest, pastor and friend.”  According to Father Worth, Monsignor Hatcher was very involved in the formation of seminarians and he was honored by Seton Hall University when he won their prestigious “Many Are One” medallion for his outstanding service to Immaculate Conception Seminary of Seton hall University.  “He worked very hard building up God’s kingdom throughout the Archdiocese of Newark and beyond. He was also know as the ‘life of any party’.”

There was a clear bond between the two religious men.  “We made a great team. We laughed and joked all the time. He taught me how to be a great priest. His smile was contagious. His love of life and of God’s people was clearly evident in everything that he did. It is a tremendous loss not just to Springfield, but to so many communities where he touched the hearts of countless people. It’s as if a thousand people just left the room. Our hope is that we can continue his legacy of love and joy that he so skillfully and effortlessly shared through these years with everyone we come to know and meet.”

The arrangements have been made for visitation at Bradley, Smith and Smith on Thursday, December 19, 2013 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and at Saint James the Apostle Church on Friday, December 20, 2013 from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  A Vigil Mass will be held on Friday, December 20, 2013, at 7:30 p.m. and a Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. with interment to follow at Cemetery Holy Cross Cemetery & Mausoleum in North Arlington, New Jersey.

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