Bonner Priest Father Atkinson a Step Closer to Sainthood

Archbishop Nelson Perez signed a cause of beatification package.
Image via
Archbishop Nelson Perez signed a cause of beatification package now heading to Pope Francis.

Father Bill Atkinson is one step closer to sainthood, writes Chris O’Connell for

After an hour-long ceremony at Villanova University Oct. 19, Archbishop Nelson Perez signed off on a package going to the Vatican and to Pope Francis.

The package contains hundreds of documents and interviews, evidence that Atkinson should be considered for the sainthood.

“We proceed with the cause of beatification and canonization and servant of God, William Atkinson” said Archbishop Nelson Perez .

Bill Atkinson was the first quadriplegic priest ordained in the Roman Catholic church. 

The Augustinian priest was an Upper Darby educator who served at Monsignor Bonner High School for over 30 years, teaching from 1975 to 2004.

Father Atkinson died in 2006.

“I think he would be a great example, not only with people with disabilities, but to people who are looking for hope in a situation. He has, by example, led a saintful life” said Mary Moody, a longtime friend of Atkinson who has helped organize the sainthood effort. 

Father Atkinson is described by friends as a down-to-earth priest with a love of the Jersey Shore, known to hear confessions on the boardwalk.

Read more at about Father Bill Atkinson’s road to sainthood.

Watch the Eucharistic Liturgy celebrating the Opening of the Cause for Father Bill Atkinson, O.S.A. from four years ago.

Join Our Community

Never miss a Delaware County story!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.