The Rev. Bruce Byrolly dies on Christmas

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
The Rev. Bruce Byrolly was a retired priest in the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, whose most recent parish was St. Mary, Refuge of Sinners in Cambridge. He made his home in Cambridge, were he stayed active into his 80s advocating for the poor and neglected. He is seen above riding in a social justice demonstration in the summer of 2020. Father Byrolly died on Christmas Night.

CAMBRIDGE — Dorchester County lost a beloved clergyman on Christmas Night.
“It is with great sadness that we share the news that Fr. Bruce Byrolly died last night at 11:30 p.m.,” Jackie Davis said from the office of St. Mary, Refuge of Sinners Catholic Church in Cambridge. “That is all the information available right now. He will indeed be missed not only by his parishioners at St. Mary’s but also by the larger Cambridge community. He set the example for what it means to serve. May he rest in peace. More information on services will be posted once they are made available.”

In 2018, when he was 84, the Rev. Byrolly celebrated his 60th year as a priest.
He was born in Waterbury, Conn., and attended Yale University in New Haven. He was ordained May 15, 1958, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Norwich, Conn., but ministered almost exclusively in the Diocese of Wilmington.

He was associate pastor of Our Lady of Fatima, New Castle; St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, St. Ann and St. Peter Cathedral, Wilmington; Holy Rosary, Claymont; and St. John’s/Holy Angels, Newark. He was administrator of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception and pastor of St. Matthew’s, Wilmington; St. Edmond’s, Rehoboth Beach; St. Luke/St. Andrew, Ocean City, Md.; and St. Mary Refuge of Sinners, Cambridge.

He was a member of the diocesan liturgical commission, coordinator for Project Equality, chaplain of the Christian Family Movement Federation, and coordinator of ecumenical and interreligious affairs. He retired in 2004.
He was known in Dorchester and elsewhere as a passionate advocate for justice and the disadvantaged. He was often seen at local demonstrations, sometimes riding an adult tricycle to keep up with marchers, most of whom were decades his junior.

“How appropriate is it that he is welcomed into heaven on Christmas night!” parishioner Jane Follmer posted. “Fr. Byrolly was such a key part to this community as he truly became part of Cambridge — seeing anyone in need, regardless of religion or time of day. Fr. Byrolly, God Bless, you will be missed my friend!”
Condolences came from members of other churches who knew and respected the Rev. Byrolly.
“Praying for so many people this morning whose lives were touched by Father Bruce Byrolly,” Rebecca Redmer wrote. “My heart hurt when I heard the news of his passing.

“He was a true servant of God, he lived a life fighting injustice, helping those in need, whether it be physically, mentally, financially, spiritually if he could help, he did.
“Many didn’t know him by his name, but knew him as the man who showed up at community events, ready to encourage, to ask hard questions and start conversations. He lived a full life right up to the end.
“Join me in praying for peace and comfort to so many he left behind — he left his mark on many hearts and many lives — that is a beautiful legacy to leave.”