We received word last weekend that Fr. Richard Vickery '41 and a former member of the Bishop Bradley High School faculty died at the age of 91. I met Fr. Vickery about 4-5 years ago when he visited Trinity High School at the invitation of our principal Mr. Mailloux '72. Students came down to Mr. Mailloux's office to chat with Fr. Vickery and he asked them about college, career plans, etc. He showed his age a bit when he said to the girls, "Now you girls of course won't be going to college, you'll be going to secretarial school or nursing school..." The girls were very gracious and just smiled! He also visited a Spanish class, chatted with the students and then gave them a blessing. After he left the teacher, Mrs. Lennan-Morf said, "We were in the presence of greatness."
What I didn't know about Fr. Vickery was that he was born in my hometown of Melrose, MA and moved with his family to Manchester a a year later. After graduating from Saint Joseph's High School for Boys, he went off to fight in the Pacific during World War II and was ordained a priest in 1948. According to records I have from our archives, he was on the faculty at our school from 1951-1966 while also doing parish ministry. He was one of many diocesan priests who taught at Bishop Bradley alongside the Christian Brothers in the 1950's and 60's. In 1969, he went to Vietnam and served as an Army chaplain for almost a year. So Fr. Vickery served in not one but two American wars!
Fr. Vickery lived at Bishop Peterson House, a retirement home for priests in Manchester, from 2004-2015 when he moved to Mt. Carmel Nursing Home, also in Manchester. It was there that he died on Saturday, March 6.
His wake will be tomorrow from 2pm-4pm at St. Joseph Cathedral with our chaplain, Fr. Richard Dion presiding (in his role as dean of the Amoskeag Deanery). Bishop Libasci will celebrate his funeral Mass on Thursday at 11am. I won't be able to attend the wake as we have an event at Trinity from 2pm-7pm but I will be able to attend his funeral.
Please pray for the repose of Fr. Vickery's soul and thank God for his amazing service to the people of New Hampshire as a priest and a veteran of our armed forces.
May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.