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Archives Father Gallagher was ‘a priest in the vineyard’

January 12, 2022

By Darcy Fargo

ALTONA – A quiet and reserved man, Father Adrian Gallagher will be remembered for his love of the Church and the sacraments and his ability to reach others.

“He was something,” said Father Michael J. Jablonski, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Dannemora and Church of the Assumption in Redford. “He wasn’t a flashy man. He didn’t like attention on him. He was a worker – a priest in the vineyard. Through that, he worked with the people the Lord sent him.”

Father Gallagher, pastor of Holy Angels Church in Altona and St. Ann's Church in Mooers Forks, died unexpectedly on Jan. 5. He was 58. A complete obituary can be found below.

Father Jablonski said he became friends with Father Gallagher around five years ago through their common connection with Father Gilbert Boisvert.

“(Father Adrian) and Father Gilbert knew each other from when Father Gilbert taught at (Mount Assumption Institute) in Plattsburgh,” Father Jablonski said. “I met him through Father Gilbert. We’d all go out to eat together. As Father Gilbert’s health grew worse, we swapped numbers, and our friendship grew from there. (Father) Adrian became my spiritual director.”

Father Jablonski said he will always remember his friend’s “love for the Church.”

“He loved the Church the Lord established, and he loved the sacraments and saw them as a gift from God,” he said. “He really felt strongly that it was important for people to be formed. It was important to him to teach the sacraments and celebrate them worthily.”

Father Jablonksi noted that Father Gallagher recently oversaw renovations at St. Ann’s Church.

“He wanted things to honor our Lord and king,” Father Jablonski said. “It was all part of the love he had for the Church and the sacraments.”

Despite his quiet and reserved nature, Father Jablonski said Father Gallagher was loving and caring to others.

“He had a good sense of humor,” he said. “He reached people by joking with them in his own way. And his rectory was always open. It went back to his Franciscan charism. He believed in helping people in need. He gave of himself. He was always available to hear a confession or lend an ear. He always tried to be available and bring Jesus to those around him.”

Father Jablonski said he learned a lot about how to be a pastor from Father Gallagher.

“He was my spiritual director and dear friend,” he said. “It’s been a blessing to me to hear the stories he shared about being a friar, about the people he met and about how the witness of Christ they showed him. It baffled my mind. He had beautiful stories. He also showed me to remember the dignity of the sacraments of the church. We need them walking this Christian life. They’re our Lord’s hands working in our reality.”

In 2017, as he celebrated 25 years of priesthood, Father Gallagher reflected on his vocation and ministry.

“I am very humbled and blessed to be a priest of Jesus Christ,” he said. “Each Mass reminds me of the tremendous gift God has bestowed upon me. In these 25 years, my greatest blessing has become the deeper depth of faith I have acquired in being exposed to the faith of those who have remained faithful despite tremendous hardship.”


Funeral Mass for Father Gallagher held on Jan. 11

Reverend Adrian Gallagher, 58, pastor of Holy Angels Church in Altona and St. Ann’s Church in Mooers Forks, died unexpectedly with the hope of eternal life on Wednesday, January 5, 2022.

Born Bret Douglas Adrian Gallagher in Malone on June 8, 1963, he was the son of Douglas L. And Ellen Marie (Wallace) Gallagher. His parents survive.

Reverend Monsignor Dennis J. Duprey, V.F. will preside over the reception of the body at 3 p.m. on January 10 at Notre Dame Church in Malone. Calling hours will follow until Evening Prayer at 6 p.m. led by Monsignor Duprey. Calling hours will continue from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on January 11 in the church.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at noon on January 11 at Notre Dame Church. Most Reverend Terry R. LaValley, bishop of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, will be the principal celebrant. Most Reverend Douglas J. Lucia of the Diocese of Syracuse and the priests of the Diocese of Ogdensburg will concelebrate.

Following the Mass, burial will be in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Malone.

Father Gallagher graduated from Franklin Academy in Malone before following God’s call and entering Wadhams Hall Seminary College in 1982. After two years at the seminary, he joined the Conventual Franciscan Friars, St. Anthony Province, in Ellicott City, Maryland. He made his First Profession of Vows on August 15, 1984, and he made his Solemn Profession of Vows in the Order of Friars Minor Conventual on August 2, 1988, in Our Lady of the Angels Church in Albany, New York. During that time, he received a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy at St. Hyacinth College and Seminary in Massachusetts, and a master’s degree in Theology at DeSales School of Theology in Washington, DC. He was ordained to the priesthood July 18, 1992, in Baltimore by His Eminence William Cardinal H. Keeler.

With the friars, Father Gallagher served as parochial vicar at Mater Dolorosa Parish in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and at St. Stanislaus Basilica in Chicopee, Massachusetts; as instructor at Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore, Maryland, and St. Francis High School in Athol Springs, New York, where he also served as campus minister; as guardian delegate at St. Hyacinth Senior Friars Residence in Chicopee, Massachusetts; and as pastor at Our Lady of Hope Church in Coal Township, Pennsylvania, and St. Patrick’s Church in Trevorton, Pennsylvania. He was also a member of the Marian Apostolate Council and the Senior Friars Commission.

During his summers in western New York, Father Gallagher worked with runaways and teens battling addiction.
In 2013, Father Gallagher returned to the Diocese of Ogdensburg to be closer to family. He was incardinated as a priest of the diocese on February 29, 2016. He was appointed pastor of St. Joseph’s in Mooers and St. Ann’s in Mooers Forks in 2014 and was given additional responsibilities as pastor in Altona and Sciota in 2017.

In addition to his parents, Father Gallagher is survived by a sister, Amy Gallagher; brothers, Brendan and Brian Gallagher; a niece, Norah; and a nephew, Dylan.

Funeral arrangements are under the care of Bruso-Desnoyers Funeral Services Inc. in Malone.

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