Father George Byrne dies at 87


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SAN DIEGO — Father George Byrne, a retired priest of the Diocese of San Diego, died Jan. 8. He was 87.

Born in New Rochelle, N.Y., he began his studies for the priesthood in 1960 at St. Francis Seminary in San Diego. He continued them at Immaculate Heart Seminary, also in San Diego, and at St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif.

He was ordained to the priesthood on June 7, 1969.

From 1969 through 1974, Father Byrne served as assistant or associate pastor at a succession of parishes, including St. Joseph’s in Upland; Our Lady of Assumption in San Bernardino; and St. Francis of Assisi in Vista.

For three years, beginning in 1974, he worked for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Division of Film and Broadcasting and, in 1977, began a three-year stint with Catholic Relief Services in New York.

He served as director of the Newman Center at San Diego State University from July 1978 to August 1980.

Father Byrne later served as associate pastor of Mary Star of the Sea Parish in La Jolla and as director of the Diocese of San Diego’s Office for Communication before accepting his first assignment as a parish pastor.

He was the founding pastor of St. William of York Parish, which would later become St. Thérèse of Carmel Parish, ministering there from 1985 through 1988. In 1999, he had a brief, two-month assignment as pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in San Diego. This was followed by almost 16 months as chaplain of Nazareth House San Diego, an assisted living community, where he served until his retirement from active ministry on Dec. 31, 2000.

A funeral Mass was celebrated Jan. 13 at St. Thérèse of Carmel Parish, followed by interment at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleum.

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