ROYAL OAK -

Monsignor William H. Easton, pastor of the National Shrine of the Little Flower Parish in Royal Oak, died the afternoon of December 29 at the age of 69.

He had been hospitalized since suffering a sudden cardiac ailment and subsequent fall on December 20.

Born in Detroit in 1944 to William and Shirley Easton, he was ordained a priest for the
Archdiocese of Detroit on June 14, 1970, after having attended Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit and St. John's Provincial Seminary in Plymouth.

Monsignor Easton served as a priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit for 43 years. He has been pastor of National Shrine of the Little Flower Parish since 1996.

During his pastorate, in 1998, the Shrine of the Little Flower Church was given National Shrine designation by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. With a membership of more than 3,500 families, Shrine is among the largest parishes in the Archdiocese of Detroit and one of just five that hosts both an elementary and high school.

He began his priestly ministry at St. Mary Parish in Royal Oak, serving as associate pastor from 1970 until 1972, then as co-pastor from 1972 until 1975.

From 2009 until 2012, Monsignor Easton had served as chairman of the presbyteral council, a board of priests that advises the archbishop. He also had served as coordinator of archdiocesan celebrations for consecrations of new bishops; on the board of trustees at Madonna University in Livonia; on the board of trustees for the Children's Trust Fund of the State of Michigan; and as chaplain to the Royal Oak Police Department.

Funeral arrangements to be held at National Shrine of the Little Flower Parish:

Shrine says a rosary service for Easton will be Monday night at 8 p.m.

Viewing hours for Easton will be held Jan. 2 from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The Mass of the Resurrection will take place Jan. 3 at 11 a.m.

The church is located at 2100 W 12 Mile Road.