Father William Joseph Collins, a Missionary of the Sacred Heart who was a longtime pastor at two parishes in the archdiocese, died January 7 at a hospital in San Antonio.
He was born on Aug. 13, 1943, in Castle Island, County Kerry, Ireland, the first child of Thomas and Nora Kerrisk Collins. He later had three siblings: Margaret, Christy, and Thomas.
Father Collins was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Christy. He is survived by his sister Margaret and his brother Tom, numerous nieces and nephews, and their families.
He received his master’s degree in Education (Guidance and Counseling) from Our Lady of the Lake University in 1974, a doctorate in ministry from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth in 1980, and was a Fellow in Pastoral Counseling in the Division of Religion and Psychiatry at the Menninger Foundation from 1980 to 1982.
Father Collins was ordained on Dec. 21, 1967, in County Galway, Ireland, a priest of the Irish Province of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. He arrived in San Antonio in 1971 from Venezuela, where he ministered for three years.
He served associate pastor of St. Henry Church from 1971 to 1980, as pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church from 1983 to 1989, as director of the RENEW program in the archdiocese from 1989 to 1992, and later as pastor of Immaculate Conception Church until his retirement a couple of years ago. He was appointed by Archbishop Patrick Flores to various committees and served as president of the Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council.
Father Collins celebrated 52 years of priestly ministry on December 21, 2019.
Father Collins was a member of the Irish Cultural Society of San Antonio, and his hobbies were reading, golf, and music.
Memorial Masses were held on January 14 at Immaculate Conception Church with Auxiliary Bishop Michael Boulette presiding, and on January 15 at St. Anthony of Padua Church with Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, presiding.
In Father Collins’s desire to serve and help others, his body was donated to science and his remains will be repatriated to Ireland at a future date.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in care of Father Kevin Shanahan, MSC, at St. Anthony de Padua Church, 102 Lorenz Road, San Antonio, Texas 78209.