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'Rock' who led Catholic Charities for a decade dies

Monsignor Patrick R. Leary (left) in 2010. (Business Press)
Monsignor Patrick R. Leary (left) in 2010. (Business Press)
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Updated: 12/09/2012 3:21 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV -- The man who has led Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada for nearly 10 years, Monsignor Patrick R. Leary, has died.

Leary, 63, had served as the CEO of Catholic Charities since 2003. The agency is the largest social service organization providing direct help to people in Clark County.

"For 13 years he was the rock that led Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada -- feeding the hungry and clothing the poor, never looking away from a face in need; setting an example for the community and the world," said Bishop Joseph A. Pepe, head of the Diocese of Las Vegas, who said he was deeply saddened about the death. The diocese issued a news release this afternoon.

Leary was born March 21, 1949, in Buffalo, N.Y. He was ordained on May 15, 1976, as a priest of the Paulist Fathers, where he served in several roles, including overseas on Hong Kong, before joining the Diocese of Reno Las Vegas in 1989. His first assignment in Las Vegas was as chaplain of the University of Las Vegas campus ministry and chaplain to the Carmellite Sisters. He was incardinated into the Diocese of Reno Las Vegas in 1994 and assigned as Rector of the Shrine of the Most Holy Redeemer where he served until 2001.

Leary was conferred with the title of Prelate of Honor to His holiness, Pope John Paul II in 1998. He was also a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.

In 2003, Leary took over operations at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, an organization dedicated to serving the community since it was formed in 1941.

Services for Leary and plans for the organization will be announced by the Diocese of Las Vegas within a few days. In lieu of flowers, donations to Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada would be greatly appreciated, the statement concluded.


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