Father Daniel J. McCloskey, pastor of St. Michael the Archangel in Georgetown and its mission, Mary Mother of Peace in Oak Orchard, from 2000 until his retirement last year, died Oct. 13. He was 62 and had endured various medical issues over the past several years.
Father McCloskey was born in the Bronx, N.Y., and attended Catholic schools there. He attended Holy Apostles College in Cromwell, Conn., and St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, before being ordained to the priesthood in 1983.
He served as an associate pastor at St. Mary Magdalen, St. Matthew’s, St. John the Beloved and the Cathedral of St. Peter, all in Wilmington; Holy Family, Newark; Holy Rosary, Claymont; and St. Michael the Archangel, Georgetown. He spent a year on a special assignment at St. Joseph’s in Keyport, N.J. In 1998, Fr. McCloskey was named administrator of Immaculate Conception, Marydel, Md., and that same year he moved to St. Michael the Archangel as an associate.
Chuck Klous of Wilmington had been close to Father McCloskey since the priest’s time at Holy Rosary Parish in Claymont as a transitional deacon in the early 1980s. Father McCloskey was Klous’ confirmation sponsor and baptized each of his four children.
“He absolutely had the common-man touch. He was a great example to my kids,” said Klous, now a member of St. Ann’s Parish in Wilmington.
Klous said Father McCloskey was “extraordinarily approachable” and maintained his great sense of humor to the end. Although a New Yorker at heart, he had found a home in Sussex County.
“That was the happiest part of his priesthood, in Georgetown and Oak Orchard. You could tell he was well-loved by those people when he walked into that church. He never wanted to leave the place,” Klous said.
Under his guidance as pastor, St. Michael the Archangel celebrated its 50th anniversary as a parish in 2007. In a message distributed at the anniversary Mass that June, Father McCloskey described his experiences in the Bronx as the model of his ministry.
“Not too surprising to me is that 50 years later, I find myself doing what others had taught me to do: to take our collective diversity and backgrounds of Catholic faith, and from them continue to build up God’s kingdom here on earth; to take the teachings of Jesus the Christ as proclaimed in the Scriptures, and the traditions and teaching of our Catholic faith, and to profess them not only in words, but in actions,” he wrote.
A viewing will be held Tuesday, Oct. 18 from 6-8 p.m. at Holy Rosary Church, 3200 Philadelphia Pike, Claymont, with a vigil service to follow. The Mass of Christian Burial will take place Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 11 a.m., also at Holy Rosary. Burial will be in All Saints Cemetery, Wilmington.
Condolences can be sent to Father McCloskey’s brother, Thomas McCloskey, 1347 Darby Road West, Wantagh, NY 11793.
Contributions in Father McCloskey’s name may be made to the Share the Spirit Fund, 1925 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, DE 19806; the Maryknoll Fathers, P.O. Box 304, Maryknoll, NY 10545; or St. Mary’s Church, 1215 Seventh Ave., Worthington, MN 56187.