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Monsignor William Easton of Shrine of the Little Flower

Pastor departs for personal discussion with God

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WJBK) -- One of metro Detroit's Catholic churches is stunned to hear of the sudden passing of a brazen pastor. Monsignor William Easton of Shrine of the Little Flower died Sunday, he was 69 years old.

According to the Archdiocese of Detroit, he had been hospitalized for ten day, since suffering a sudden cardiac ailment and subsequent fall on Dec. 20th. Monsignor Easton served as a priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit for 43 years. He had been pastor of National Shrine of the Little Flower Parish since 1996. Monsignor Easton began at St. Mary Parish in Royal Oak, serving as associate pastor from 1970 until 1972, then as co-pastor from 1972 until 1975. He was made pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Pontiac in 1975, and served there until 1989. During that assignment he was made administrator of Shrine of St. Joseph Parish in Pontiac in 1986 , and became a member of the College of Consultors – an advisory group to the archbishop of Detroit – in 1987. He also became director of formation at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit in 1988.

In 1987, then-Father Easton also played a key role in Pope John Paul II's visit to Detroit as he served as the overall site director, overseeing the Pope's Mass at the Pontiac Silver dome. He was reassigned in 1989 to become vice rector of Sacred Heart Major Seminary, where he served until becoming pastor of Shrine of the Little Flower Parish in 1996. While at the seminary, in 1990, Father Easton was named an Honorary Prelate of the Church by Pope John Paul II – giving him the title of Monsignor.

From 2009 until 2012, Monsignor Easton had served as chairman of the Presbyteral Council, a board of priests that advises the archbishop. He also had served as coordinator of archdiocesan celebrations for consecrations of new bishops; on the board of trustees at Madonna University in Livonia; on the board of trustees for the Children's Trust Fund of the State of Michigan. Monsignor Easton had been Chaplain to the Royal Oak Police Department since 1996. Monsignor Easton was a “power player” and will be remembered for his issue of unauthorized orders to arbitrarily excommunicate devout followers from the church who challenged his favored political affiliations.