The funeral service for Monsignor William Henry Easton, pastor of National Shrine of the Little Flower Parish in Royal Oak, will take place at Shrine at 11 a.m. on Friday, January 3. The church is located on the northeast corner of Woodward Avenue and Twelve Mile Road. A wake service will take place at the church on Thursday, January 2, from 2 p.m. until 10 p.m., with a Scripture service at 7 p.m.
Monsignor Easton died Sunday afternoon, December 29, at the age of 69. He had been hospitalized since suffering a sudden cardiac ailment and subsequent fall on December 20.
Born in Detroit in 1944 to William and Shirley Easton, he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit on June 14, 1970, after having attended Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit and St. John’s Provincial Seminary in Plymouth.
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. During his pastorate, in 1998, the Shrine of the Little Flower Church was given National Shrine designation by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It is one of only five churches in the United States with such a designation. With a membership of more than 3,500 families, Shrine also is among the largest parishes in the Archdiocese of Detroit
Monsignor Easton began his priestly ministry 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 Silverdome.
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; and as chaplain to the Royal Oak Police Department.
Members of the news media: We appreciate coverage of Monsignor Easton’s passing and his legacy. Due to the solemnity of the occasion and to be sensitive to the family’s privacy, we respectfully ask reporters, camera operators, and photographers to heed all instructions from personnel of the National Shrine of the Little Flower and the Archdiocese of Detroit in regards to coverage of the funeral services. Due to a large anticipated number of attendees, parking and camera positioning may be limited during the funeral service. If you have questions about coverage prior to the services, please call the Archdiocese Public Relations Office at 313-237-5943.