Jesuit Father W. Alan Briceland died on Sept. 14, 2015, at Murray-Weigel Hall in the Bronx, New York, after a brief illness.
He was born on Aug. 8, 1932, in Syracuse, New York, the son of William and Myrtle (McDonald) Briceland. Following his graduation from St. John’s High School and two years of college at Le Moyne College (1949-51), he entered the Society of Jesus on Sept. 7, 1951, at the novitiate at Guelph, Canada. After pronouncing his first vows there in 1953, he moved south to St. Andrew-on-Hudson in Poughkeepsie, New York, to continue his college studies (1953-55). For the study of philosophy, he was among the first class at Loyola Seminary in Shrub Oak, New York (1955-58).
Shifting to the apostolic life, he taught Latin and English to second year students at McQuaid Jesuit High in Rochester, New York (1958-61). His final year of regency (teaching) was at Canisius High School in Buffalo, New York (1961-62). In preparation for ordination, he studied theology at Woodstock College in Woodstock, Maryland, from 1962-66. He was ordained a priest on June 10, 1965, at Canisius College in Buffalo (he had just celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination a few days before his death).
His final year of formation was at the tertianship in St. Bueno, Wales (1966-67). After teaching again at McQuaid Jesuit, he had one year of studies in religious education at the Catholic University of America (1970-71). Back in the classroom, he taught theology at Xavier High School in New York from 1971-92.
After a sabbatical that included studies in pastoral theology in Chicago (1992-93), he began in 1993 what would be his ministry for the rest of his priestly life as a hospital chaplain. After two years at Coler Hospital in New York and one year at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers, he began his many years of chaplaincy at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York, and continued there until ill health recently forced him to the Jesuit infirmary at Murray-Weigel Hall.
In addition to his years as a chaplain, he also served as a superior of the local Jesuit community in Manhattan. He was a strong member and leader of a group of Christians and seekers that met regularly at the Jesuit community for conversation, prayer, fine cuisine and reflection. Fr. Briceland also received much joy and energy from this group.