News and Updates Museum St. Mary's Assumption Seelos Shrine
Newsletters Directions Shrine Charitable Giving Meet the Staff
News and Updates

Director Emeritus Of Father Seelos Center Dies

Father Joseph D. Elworthy, Redemptorist (1915-2006)

Father Joseph D. Elworthy, C.Ss.R., a Redemptorist for 71 years, died on January 27, 2006, after a long illness. He was ninety years old.

In 1939, Father Elworthy was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Stritch at the Redemptorist seminary in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. After ordination he did post-graduate studies at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Shortly thereafter, he was chosen to become one of the first group of six Redemptorists to go as missionaries to the Amazon Valley in Brazil. He arrived in the city of Manaus in 1943. He was then appointed pastor of one parish on the Amazon River that had 25,000 people, and another parish that was as large as the entire country of Ireland.

After a little more than ten years of ministry in the Amazon jungle, Father Elworthy returned to the States in 1953, and was assigned to the Redemptorist Mission Office in Liguori, Missouri. During his 66 years as a priest he served also as pastor of parishes in Wichita, Kansas, San Antonio, Texas, Corpus Christi, Texas, and Saint Alphonsus Parish in New Orleans. He was appointed Director of the Father Seelos Center from 1970 to 1978, and again from 1984 until 1999. For twenty-five years, he was an ardent promoter of the canonization cause of Father Francis Xavier Seelos. Father Elworthy attended the Beatification ceremony of Father Seelos in Rome during the Solemn Jubilee Year 2000.

Father Elworthy also ministered as Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus Father Seelos Council in Metairie, and he served as Chaplain of the Court Mater Dei Catholic Daughters since 1988.

Born in St. Louis’ Saint Alphonsus “Rock” Church parish on June 7, 1915, Father Elworthy lived a full life for almost 91 years. Old age and declining health forced him to spend his final four years at the Redemptorist St. Clement’s Healthcare Center in Liguori, Mo.

His funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Clement’s on January 31, 2006, followed by burial at Liguori. A Memorial Mass for Father Elworthy will be held at the National Shrine of Blessed Francis X. Seelos in New Orleans on Saturday, May 6 at 11:00 a.m.

Please provide your comments by logging onto the Seelos Guestbook.