Father Michael Cloney Set to Celebrate His 50th Ordination Anniversary
Father Michael Cloney, 1960 graduate of St. Bernard’s High School, will be celebrating his 50th Ordination Anniversary on May 20, 2018 at St. Bernard’s Church with a 10:30 Mass followed by a reception from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at St. Bernard’s Academy auditorium.
Father Mike was born in Eureka, California on December 13, 1941, to Leland and Florence Cloney. Along with his siblings Tom, Terry, and Cheryl, he attended St. Bernard’s but he transferred to St. Pius X Seminary for 9th, 10th, and 11th grades until his senior year when he transferred back to St. Bernard’s High School and graduated in 1960. He then attended Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon. His ordination took place on May 11, 1968 at St. Bernard’s Church with Bishop Leo Maher presiding.
From 1972 to 1979 Father Mike was at St. Bernard’s High School as a teacher and chaplain. During those years he taught Religion to all four grades; and Fine Arts classes, specifically Photography and Yearbook. He was a stage prop and scenery moderator for Drama. He was in charge of the liturgy and worship ministry, class retreats, and a class moderator. He even found time to be an afternoon school bus driver and assistant coach for the track team. Every summer he would clean the typewriters for fellow teacher Perky Roberts and take students on trips for yearbook and photography.
Asked about memorable times at SB, he responded, “I suppose it was the call from the Bishop in December 1971 to go teach at St. Bernard’s High School and replace Father Michael Kenny, Chaplain. I tried to teach six classes of religion the second semester without text books. Thank goodness the Sisters of St. Joseph wrote my class outlines to get me through the semester. How well I remember teaching some of my family cousins and my classmates’ children. It was like coming home. I found out that I was too young looking to teach, so I grew a moustache. I looked distinguished. I served under four principals. I was on the 1973-74 committee, “S.O.S.” or “Save Our School.” It was desperate times financially. I began helping Vern, our custodian, do extensive maintenance work. One heartfelt moment was the funeral Mass for sophomore, Ted Trichilo, who had leukemia. I felt the pride of the school at many graduation Masses and at the Crusader Move-Up Medal ceremony.
In 1977 the students of St. Bernard’s dedicated the Crusader Yearbook to Father Cloney. They joked that his 1960 senior class prophecy predicted he would “become a talented photographer for Playboy magazine.” Instead he became their teacher, their priest and a tireless and selfless photographer recording the history of SB students’ high school years. The students admired him as a man who was “always there when needed, a man who will stand up for you to the end, a man to whom no student is a stranger, and a man to whom we give our love and appreciation.” In 1996 Father Mike was inducted into the St. Bernard’s Alumni Hall of Fame for his dedication, spirit, loyalty, and service to St. Bernard’s High School.
Father Mike has been the pastor of St. Joseph Church in Crescent City, St. Mary’s Church in Arcata, St. Joseph Church in Fortuna, St. Mary of the Angels in Ukiah, Christ the King Church in McKinleyville and St. Bernard’s Church in Eureka.
Father Mike has already begun his retirement from pastoral duties and is residing at St. Bernard’s Rectory. His hobbies keep him busy with photography, carpentry, and genealogical family studies. He serves various parishes in Humboldt County on the weekends. He still helps out at the summer camp which is in its 55th year and is now called Redwood Adventure Camp. He is active in Cursillo, St. Bernard’s Alumni Association, and once again is on the sidelines of Crusader games taking photos!
Congratulations, Father Mike, on your 50th Ordination Anniversary! We love you!