1913 – 1987 (February 16)
William Joseph Sofranko was born to John Sofranko and Mary Janigan on March 24, 1913, in East Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, later renamed Jim Thorpe, Pa. He had two sisters and a brother. He was baptized in Saint Joseph Parish there and attended the parish school. After three years at Mauch Chunk Catholic High School, he transferred to Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, as a postulant, and graduated in 1932. In September of that year he entered the Novitiate of Our Mother of Good Counsel, New Hamburg, N.Y., and professed simple vows on September 11, 1933. Three years later, in 1936, he made his solemn profession at Saint Mary's Hall, Villanova, Pa. In 1937 he graduated from Villanova with a B.A. in philosophy and began his theological studies at Augustinian College in Washington, DC. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 10, 1940 by Bishop John McNamara at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Upon completion of his theological studies in 1941, Father Sofranko was appointed submaster of novices and assigned to Our Mother of Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg. In 1943, he was assigned to teach physics at Villanova, and two years later was transferred as assistant pastor to Saint Laurence O'Toole Parish, Lawrence, MA. After six months in Lawrence he was assigned to San Agustin, Marianao Havana, Cuba, where he taught chemistry and math at the University of Santo Tomas, headed the Department of Science, and helped set up the Department of Chemical Engineering. In 1954 Father Sofranko was assigned to Saint Nicholas of Tolentine in the Bronx, N.Y., where he remained for almost 25 years serving in the parish, teaching science in the high school, and serving as subprior of the Augustinian community. In 1978 he was assigned as associate pastor to the Church of the Assumption/Saint Paul in Mechanicville, N.Y.
In 1983 Father Sofranko retired to Saint Thomas of Villanova Monastery, Villanova. For two years he patiently endured the suffering of cancer and died on February 16, 1987. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at Saint Thomas of Villanova Church on the campus, on Wednesday, February 18, after which he was buried in his family plot at Saint Joseph Cemetery in Jim Thorpe, PA.