A funeral Mass was offered Jan. 19 at Our Lady of Hope Church, Whitehall, for Rev. William Esmond, who died Jan. 14. He was 88 and had been a priest of the Albany Diocese for 56 years.

A native of Watertown who grew up in Glens Falls, he served as associate pastor at St. Michael's parish in South Glens Falls, St. Columba's in Schenectady, St. Peter's in Saratoga Springs, Visitation in Schuylerville and St. Patrick's in Troy. From 1970 until his retirement in 1998, he was pastor of Our Lady of Angels in Whitehall.

On the occasion of his 50th anniversary of priesthood, Father Esmond told The Evangelist that helping others through religious life has many rewards and that he hoped many young men would embrace the challenge. "A word of advice to the young: Go the distance," he urged.

Having spent nearly three decades serving a single parish, Father Esmond certainly took his own advice. The number of births, sacraments and deaths he witnessed within his parish family attests to his willingness to embrace priestly life at its fullest.

May he be reaping even greater rewards in the arms of God. Interment will be in Our Lady of Angels Cemetery, Whitehall.