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Ex-Principal at Mater Dei, Monsignor Reilly, Dies at 76


Monsignor John J. Reilly, principal of Mater Dei High School for seven years and later pastor of St. Boniface parish in Anaheim, has died at age 76.

"People will remember him as a very jovial man," said Father Gregory Coiro, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, where Reilly spent part of his career. "He was a great jocular type of person and a great storyteller."

Born in Long Beach on Sept. 4, 1922, Reilly attended elementary schools there, as well as in Compton and Anaheim. After earning a bachelor's degree and studying theology at St. John's Seminary College in Camarillo, he was ordained as a priest in 1948.

His first assignments were in Los Angeles and Temple City, where he was vice principal of a Catholic girls' school and associate pastor of a church. In 1964, he moved to Santa Ana to serve as principal of Mater Dei High School. In 1971, he left to become administrator and later pastor of Anaheim's St. Boniface parish.

In 1974, Reilly left Orange County to become rector of Our Lady Queen of Angels High School Seminary in Mission Hills.

Most recently, he was pastor of a church in Long Beach and chaplain at a shelter in San Pedro.

Reilly was living in Huntington Beach at the time of his death.

A funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. Friday in St. Cornelius Church, 5500 E. Wardlow Road, Long Beach. Burial will follow at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Orange.

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