Father John Stephen Gresser, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province (1914-1966)

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Born May 6, 1914 in Hollis, New York, he went to Shelter Island as a boy and met the Passionists there. He was the son of Judge Lawrence T. Greeser, Sr, a politician in Queens, New York. He went to Holy Cross Seminary, Dunkirk, New York when he was seventeen. He professed his vows on August 15, 1936 and was ordained on February 27, 1943. His first assignment was professor of church history and papal social doctrine. In 1946 he was sent to teach at Dunkirk. He did that until his death, except for the few years that he was a field representative for Sign magazine and one year of sickness. He taught Latin. In 1962 a heart attack almost took his life. In 1963 he joined the seminary faculty at Holy Family Seminary, West Hartford, Connecticut and resumed teaching Latin. He found the modern liturgical and theological renewal to be a struggle even as he tried to learn the new documents of the Vatican Council. In January 1966 he had another heart attack and he could not continue to teach. In June he had recovered enough to go to Shelter Island. By mid July he had shortness of breath and went to East Islip, New York to the hospital. He appeared to be gaining strength but had a relapse which led to his death. He was buried from Shelter Island.