William J. Leonard, SJ
1909 - 2000
1909 - 2000
Rev. William Leonad, SJ, died on February 11, 2000, at the age of ninety-one, in Weston, MA. Born in Dorchester, MA, Father Leonard, a priest of the Society of Jesus, joined the Jesuits in 1925 and was ordained to the presbyterate in 1937. From 1939 to 1973, apart from service during World War II as a U.S. Army chaplain, he taught theology at Boston College and founded the Summer School of Social Worship on that campus. Father Leonard was deeply involved in the liturgical movement, served as secretary of the Liturgical Conference during the 1950s, and was an adviser at the Second Vatican Council.
In retirement, he became an archivist for the U.S. liturgical movement and founded the Liturgy and Life collection at Boston College Library, collecting books, magazines, and other publications related to liturgical renewal (more than 25,000 volumes). In 1993 he published his autobiography, The Letter Carrier, an image drawn from his adolescent job and served as metaphor for a life devoted to bringing the Good News.
His life was celebrated at a funeral Mass at St. Ignatius Church on February 16.