Msgr. Howard Delaney 1911-2014

By Sherry Romero

Monsignor Howard L. Delaney, 102, passed away April 11, 2014. He was born one of three children to Michael and Mildred Delaney on Dec. 11, 1911, in David City, Neb. He had a degree in mining from Colorado School of Mines, and a brief career in engineering before he heard the call to the priesthood. From 1934 to 1940, Msgr. Delaney studied at St. Thomas Seminary in Denver completing his philosophical and theological studies. He was ordained for the Diocese of Denver on May 18, 1940, which was two years prior to the establishment of the Diocese of Pueblo. Starting June 15, 1940, he served in Walsenburg and in 1944, was appointed pastor of St. Mary in Walsenburg, serving as dean of the Walsenburg Deanery. 

He went on to serve as pastor at Christ the King parish in Pueblo until his retirement in 1976. Although officially retired, he continued to help at Christ the King in various capacities until recent years.

From riding a pony at age eight to his one-room school house in David City, Nebraska to flying around the diocese and the country, at times with Bishop Buswell in tow, Msgr. Howard Delaney was the unrivaled Renaissance priest. From building a pipe organ in Walsenburg to being in the forefront of the computer age, Msgr. Delaney never tired of a challenge. In fact, when Garland needed a church, he found out how to make adobe bricks, so that he and his future parishioners could build Sacred Heart Church which still stands today. There was no money to speak of, but he found a way.

His accomplishments abound: He taught English to immigrants. He spoke two languages, Spanish and English. He was musically gifted, playing the organ, the recorder and other Renaissance instruments. He wrote a book on Walsenburg as well as collaborating with Msgr. Patrick C. Stauter on The Willging Years. He founded the new St. Mary’s Cemetery. He travelled extensively, including a tour of South America on a freighter.

Yet, this is only a small part of what Msgr. Howard Delaney, affectionately known as “Pops” was all about. What a great sense of humor he had. What a man of integrity, honoring each and every person with the love of God. He was so humble; paying him a compliment got a laugh and a refutation. Asked toward the end for advice for how to live a good life, he gave another laugh and a quick change of subject. Humility.

He lived a life of simplicity and graciousness, humility and honesty. Through hard times, the Depression, lack of funds, the wars, and good times, he was a priest of the people, “a good priest,” a good man. He gave his all to the Church through his deep love of God.