William J. Welch passed away on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. A funeral Mass will be offered by Bishop James S. Wall of the Gallup Diocese at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 27, at Our Lady of the Snow Catholic Church in Snowflake.
He was born Jan. 17, 1929, in Jacksonville, Ill., the fifth of the six children of Harold C. Welch and Susan Burtchi Welch. He is survived by his sister, Margaret Welch Doran.
After attending one year of Mount Carmel High School in Chicago, he entered the Carmelite Junior Seminary at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. After making Novitiate with the Carmelites he continued his studies in philosophy at Mount Carmel College and theology at White Friars Hall in Washington, D.C. He finished his studies in theology at St. Albert’s International College in Rome, where he was ordained a priest on July 3, 1955.
He taught at Salpointe High School in Tucson and after receiving a master’s degree from the University of Arizona, he taught at Joliet Catholic High School in Joliet, Ill., where he was prior of the community. From 1969 until 1975, he was a member of the Mission Band, called the Carmelite Institute of Renewal.
He was accepted into the Diocese of Gallup in 1993 where he was an assistant pastor at St. Mary’s in Farmington, N.M. In 1995 he was made pastor of Madre de Dios Parish in Winslow. From the summer of 1998 and July 2014, he was pastor of Our Lady of the Snow Parish in Snowflake.