Obituary of Fr. Giles Louis Charles Van Wormer, OFM Conv.
ALBANY - Fr. Giles Louis Charles Van Wormer, OFM Conv., was born in Schenectady, NY on November 25, 1926 and passed away on April 10, 2019. He was the son of the late Louis and Anna (née McNelly) Van Wormer. In addition to his Franciscan family he leaves his nephew Anthony Famiano, a cousin, Michael Welsh, and several dear friends. His sisters Jean Famiano, Carol Wagner, and Janet Di Donna all predeceased him. He also leaves behind many devoted friends.
After serving as a radio operator in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1946, Father Giles entered the Franciscan Friars Conventual Novitiate in Middleburg, NY on August 16, 1951. He professed his Simple Vows on August 17, 1952. He professed his Solemn Vows on August 17, 1955. He was ordained to the priesthood on March 15, 1957 in Würzburg, Germany. He received an S.T.L. from the University of Würzburg in 1958.
He was assigned to St. Boniface Parish in Montreal as Assistant Pastor in 1958 for one year. Fr. Giles served as Associate Novice Master in Middleburg, NY for the next year. From 1960 to 1962 he served as Associate Pastor at St. Boniface Parish, Montreal and from 1962 to 1968 he was assigned as Associate Pastor at Immaculate Conception Church, Trenton, NJ. In 1968 he was asked to be the Vocation Director and he served in this role for two years. In the years from 1970 to 1991 Fr. Giles served as Pastor of St. Peter’s Parish Riverside, NJ; Assumption Parish Syracuse, NY; Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Albany, NY; and Blessed Sacrament Parish, Burlington, NC.
In 1991 Fr. Giles was elected as Minister Provincial of Immaculate Conception Province. He served in the role for two terms until 1997. He then returned to Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Albany, NY to work as Parochial Vicar. Fr. Giles moved to Our Lady of Hope Residence in Latham NY in 2001. Fr. Giles lived in the Rensselaer and Albany area until his death, always de familia Immaculate Conception Friary in Rensselaer, NY. He spent the last days of his life at Our Lady of the Angels Care Center, Enfield, CT where Sister Death called him home on April 10, 2019.
Devoted to all things Catholic since his youth, Fr. Giles took God’s command to St. Francis to “rebuild my church” very seriously. As a pastor and as provincial, he restored several historically significant churches and other Franciscan properties. He enriched the spiritual life of the faithful in every assignment with his tireless pastoral zeal. He loved to be with his parishioners and encouraged them to use their gifts to take ownership of their parish church. Fr. Giles was a great lover of the liturgical arts, enhancing every parish celebration by raising the homiletic, environmental, and musical standards, especially during the Christmas and Easter seasons.
Fr. Giles was a devoted friend and mentor to many people, living and modeling loyalty in all his relationships. An outstanding communicator, he maintained hundreds of friendships, faithfully sending greeting cards for every holiday and life event. He employed and mentored numerous young people, teaching them the value of hard work and modeling Christian virtues. The joy of many of those friendships is documented in a journal he kept for 78 years, from 1940 until 2018.
Fr. Giles will lie in state at Holy Trinity Church, 122 Vliet Blvd., Cohoes, NY 12047 Monday afternoon, April 15, 2019 from 3 to 7 PM. At 7 PM there will be a Franciscan Wake Service. On April 16, 2019, a Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 A.M. Visitation will take place from 9 AM to 10:45. He will be buried Our Lady of the Angels Cemetery, Colonie, NY. Memorial Donations may be made to the Franciscan Education Burse, 12300 Folly Quarter Rd., Ellicott City, MD 21042.