I wrote a story a while back about this amazing priest who was a quadriplegic whose cause is being promoted for sainthood. The Philadelphia area Catholic school he graduated and taught at will be holding a special assembly to discuss his cause.
Here’s a press release from the archdiocese:
Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High School in Drexel Hill (Delaware County) will welcome relatives, friends, and colleagues of Father William Atkinson, O.S.A., to speak to students at a special assembly. Father Atkinson was a 1963 graduate of and longtime teacher at Monsignor Bonner High School.
Speakers will include: Mrs. Joan Mullen, Father Atkinson’s sister; Mr. Lonnie Barrone, a 1963 graduate of Monsignor Bonner and classmate of Father Atkinson’s; Mr. Ralph Celedonio, Father Atkinson’s colleague at Monsignor Bonner; and Father Robert Hagan, O.S.A., a priest from the Order of Saint Augustine (Augustinians). Each representative will speak on a different aspect of Father Atkinson’s life with Father Hagan describing the process involved with a cause for Sainthood.
In addition to the speakers, approximately 30 family members and friends of Father Atkinson will attend the assembly.
Reverend William Atkinson,O.S.A, was born in 1946. He was a Philadelphia area native and in addition to Monsignor Bonner, he also attended the former Saint Alice Parish Elementary School in Upper Darby (Delaware County). During his time as a novice in the Augustinians in 1965, Father Atkinson broke his spine in a tobogganing accident, which caused him to spend the rest of his adult life as a quadriplegic.
In 1974, after continuing his studies and receiving special permission from Pope Paul VI, he became the first quadriplegic ordained to the Roman Catholic Priesthood. He spent 30 years teaching at his alma mater, Monsignor Bonner. In 2006, he died at the age of 60. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops endorsed his cause for Sainthood, in 2015.