Father Clifford Grisé, First Pastor of St. Agnes

GREENWICH—Father J. Clifford Grisé, first pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Greenwich, died on March 25 at the Jerome Home in New Britain. He was 97 years old.

He was born on October 14, 1919, in Southington, and attended local schools before entering St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield. He completed his theological studies at St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, Md. Father Grisé was ordained to the priesthood on March 17, 1945, in the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford by Archbishop Henry J. O’Brien.

At that time there was only one diocese for all Connecticut. His first assignment was to St. Paul Parish in West Haven. He went to St. Joseph Parish in Shelton as parochial vicar in 1953 and was there when the Diocese of Bridgeport was formed. He served at St. Mary Parish in Norwalk, before volunteering as a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force. He later served at Holy Name Parish in Stamford, St. Thomas Parish in Bridgeport, and St. Joseph Parish, also in Bridgeport.

In 1963, Father Grisé became the first pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Greenwich, where he remained until his 1971 appointment as pastor of St. Peter Parish in Danbury and principal at St. Peter School.

Upon his pastoral retirement in 1987, Father Grisé faithfully assisted at St. Mary, Star of the Sea, in Longboat Key, Florida for many years. He returned to Connecticut, residing at the Catherine Dennis Keefe Queen of the Clergy Residence for retired priests in Stamford.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held in his hometown of Southington at Mary Our Queen Church, Plantsville, at 11 am on March 30. Burial will follow at St. Thomas Cemetery, Southington.

(Donations in Father Grise’s memory can be made to the Expansion Fund of Queen of Clergy, 274 Strawberry Hill Ave., Stamford, CT 06902.)