The Rev. Francis J. Leonard, 60, Audubon Catholic Church Pastor

Posted: October 04, 1996

The Rev. Francis J. Leonard, 60, pastor of Holy Maternity Roman Catholic Church in Audubon, died yesterday at St. Mary's Nursing Home, Cherry Hill.

Born and raised in Camden, he was a graduate of Camden Catholic High School where he excelled in debating. He then attended St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, Jordan Seminary in Menominee, Mich., St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, and the University of Louvain in Belgium, where he earned his master's degree. He was ordained in 1963 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Camden.

Father Leonard had been pastor at Holy Maternity Roman Catholic Church since 1993. Previously, he was pastor at St. Nicholas Parish in Egg Harbor from 1984 to 1993.

A good pastor and homilist, he was a caring, gentle man who was kind to everyone, said the Rev. Edward Lipinski, Holy Maternity's associate pastor. He was very active in the pro-life movement, and was known for his love of country, the flag and God, he said.

Father Leonard was an Anglophile as well as a student of history - particularly the American Civil War and Revolutionary War, Father Lipinski said. He was also very knowledgeable about military bands. He had a love for animals, particularly dogs.

Father Leonard spent many years as an educator in Catholic schools, teaching theology and French, first at Camden Catholic High School from 1963 to 1965, and then at St. Joseph's High School in Camden from 1965 to 1979. In the 1970s, he also taught medical ethics at Our Lady of Lourdes School of Nursing in Camden.

Father Leonard was associate pastor of St. Joseph's Parish in South Camden from 1979 to 1981, and at St. Patrick's Parish in Woodbury from 1981 to 1984. He served as coordinator for the Camden County Holy Name Society from 1981 to 1983, and as a member of the Camden Diocese Ecumenical Commission from 1981 to 1985.

He is survived by three cousins, Edward P. Leonard Jr., Mary Jane Burr, and Joseph P. Leonard Jr.; and two stepcousins, Philip Martyn and George W. Martyn Jr.

A viewing will be from 2 to 7:45 p.m. Sunday in Holy Maternity Roman Catholic Church, 431 W. Nicholson Rd., Audubon, with the Mass of Jesus Christ the High Priest celebrated at 8 p.m. The viewing will resume at 9:30 a.m. Monday and Funeral Mass will begin at 10:30 a.m.

Burial will be in New St. Mary's Cemetery, Bellmawr.

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