Prescott parish celebrates former pastor, singing priest

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The “Four Horsemen” quartet lost its sole priestly member.

Claretian Father Richard DeTore passed away Oct. 28. He will be remembered not just for his quartet role that gave parish fundraisers extra flare, but as a great preacher.

Fr. Richard DeTore, CMF

Born: July 8, 1937

Ordained: June 6, 1964

Service in the Diocese of Phoenix:

  • Pastor, Sacred Heart, Prescott (1986-TBD, but no later than 1996 when similar assignment in California ended)
  • Pastor, Sacred Heart, Prescott (2002-2007)

Died: Oct. 28, 2018


Memorial Mass

5:30 p.m., Nov. 29

Sacred Heart, 150 Fleury St., Prescott


Memorial Contributions

Claretian Missionaries
C/O Father Richard De Tore Memorial Fund
10203 Lower Azusa Road
Temple City, CA 91780

Even at 81, Fr. DeTore wouldn’t turn down an invitation to share God’s Word. In fact, he left his beloved Dominguez Seminary in Compton, California in October to preach a St. Jude Novena in Chicago on what was supposed to be a short absence. A grave illness during that trip revealed that God had other plans: to call the longtime missionary home on the feast of St. Jude itself.

Fr. DeTore joined the Claretians at Dominguez Seminary in 1952. He was 15 years old. He also completed seminary studies in Washington, D.C., where Fr. DeTore was ordained in 1964. The Claretian immediately returned to Dominguez to teach and serve as assistant prefect, then again in 1969 — after teaching high school biology and religious studies — to become prefect until 1973. His final stint there began in 2015 when he ministered to the community and did outreach ministry.

Fr. DeTore’s decades of priesthood in between took him to U.S. parishes and schools plus some in Nigeria. Twice he served at Sacred Heart in Prescott. That’s where Arizona Catholics fell in love with every gifted voice he had: singing, preaching and friendly talking.

“He was a wonderful preacher, very dynamic,” said Tina Nemeth, who served as his secretary. “I just loved him to pieces.”

Muriel Rabideau, Sacred Heart’s director of Rite of Christian Initiation, said beyond the faith, movies often helped him connect with others.

“He was good at relating with people and laughing. He had a great love of movies, so he could relate with people on that,” Rabideau said.

By the time Fr. DeTore came to Arizona, he had a broad spectrum of geography he could relate with others on, too. He was born in Philadelphia but spent his early childhood in Panama. Missionary assignments took him to Colorado where he was among founding members of team ministry for the Claretian province at the Shrine of St. Anne and worked with a new pastoral team in Washington state.

Somewhere along the line, he developed a love for cooking (gourmet Caribbean food, in particular) and began to learn the ukulele.

Fr. DeTore came to Prescott after doubling as professor at the Claretian Institute of Philosophy in Nigeria for four years. He was pastor of Sacred Heart for several years beginning in 1986 and then again 2002-2007. Fr. DeTore’s election as Provincial Superior took him to Los Angeles until 2011 followed by a final parish assignment — this time in Georgia — before requesting to slow down priestly life in 2015.

Fr. DeTore returned to Sacred Heart on occasion including preaching an Advent mission one year and a visit over the summer while the church was being renovated.