Archdiocese of Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron was the main celebrant at the funeral Mass of the Rev. Monsignor William Easton, who will be remembered for his long and distinguished service at the National Shrine of the Little Flower and parishes throughout the area.
Easton, 69, died Dec. 29, after suffering a sudden cardiac ailment and subsequent fall.
Ordained June 14, 1970, Easton was named a Monsignor by Pope John Paul II in 1990. He became the pastor of Shrine in 1996 where he served until his death.
At a funeral Mass attended by hundreds late Friday morning, the archbishop offered a word of condolence to the beloved pastor's brother, sisters and mother. The oldest of six children, Easton was preceded in death by his father, the late William Easton, and his brothers, the late Robert and Donald Easton.
"You have buried now three sons," Vigneron said to Shirley Easton. "You can be sure that all of us, to whom Monsignor was so dear, are with you and offer you our prayers."
Vigneron said he will remember Easton as a pilgrim.
"For all the years I have known Msgr. Easton, he loved to be on a pilgrimage," the archbishop said. "He loved to have his passport and he loved to be going somewhere."
Easton travelled to places such as Mexico, Samoa, China and the Holy Land to do pastoral work, Vigneron said.
"When I heard that Monsignor had died I had this image of him ... wandering around the eternal Jerusalem not quite sure where the next place was going to be," he said.
The funeral service was attended by Royal Oak Mayor Jim Ellison, Mayor Pro-Tem Dave Poulton, former Mayor Dennis Cowan and Judge Terrance Brennan of the 44th District Court.
Members of the Royal Oak Police Department Honor Guard participated in the service. Easton served as a ROPD chaplain.
A reception for the Easton family and the many priests in attendance followed the service at Crispelli's. A private family burial will take place at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield.