Meet the Friars
What most interests you about St. Rita in your in daily life?
“I’d have to say Saint Rita’s perseverance in pursuing what she wanted, which led her to make peace between the families so she could enter the convent, is what I admire the most.”
Upon completion of Theology studies in 1962, his first assignment was to a teaching apostolate at Msgr. Bonner H.S. After twenty-six years at Bonner, he was assigned to parish ministry, first for ten years in Flourtown just outside Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia and then for six years in Upstate New York. In 2006 he returned to his hometown of Philadelphia and was assigned to St. Rita’s where he currently serves in pastoral ministry and as Prior of the Augustinian Friars community that ministers at St. Rita’s.
“In reference to the many virtues of St. Rita, I see a virtue which may not be as prominent as her charism of reconciliation or her devotion to the Lord’s passion but nevertheless is very applicatble to religious. I call it the virtue of St. Rita’s “humility of adaptablility.” St. Rita in her humility, adapted herself to serve God in all the circumstances of the lay state (single, married, widowed) and in the religious state. Accordingly St. Rita teaches all Augustinian religious, including myself, to minister the salvation of the Lord, Jesus to all kinds of people, of all ages, in all kind of circumstances.”
I entered the Order in 1975 and professed vows in 1976. I attended the Wash. Theo. Union. I was ordained in 1983. I served at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Parish H.S. in the Bronx, for seven years as a teacher of theology. I continued teaching at Monsignor Bonner High School for 19 years as a teacher of theology and as an school administrator.
I am happy to be a member of the parish/Shrine of St. Rita; many of my relatives were married and worshipped here.
Virtue of St. Rita: Perseverance in prayer. Rita did not hesitate to discuss all of her thoughts and questions and to wait on God our Father for his response.
Father Jim was assigned to Saint Rita’s just in time to be a part of the festivities surrounding the Holy Father’s visit and the World Meeting of Families in the early fall of 2015.
Though a ‘brothers’ boy’ at LaSalle Institute in Troy, NY during his high school years, Father Jim’s earliest experience of our Catholic Faith came from his mother’s devotion and from the Augustinians in his home parish of Saint Mary of the Assumption in Waterford, NY. In the home and serving at the altar a vocation to the priesthood and the Augustinian life was born. Thanks to the generosity of Bishop Edward Maginn, who himself had grown up under the care of Augustinians, his ordination to the priesthood and first Mass took place in 1972 at Saint Mary’s where he had been baptized, confirmed and made his first holy communion and served at the altar.
Father Jim’s assignments as an Augustinian priest brought him briefly to Saint Denis, Havertown, and then on to Carthage, NY (Father Joe’s home parish) where he worked as a young priest for 5 years, and later was pastor of St. James and its two mission parishes for 19 years; to Hoosick Falls, NY for both parochial and high school work, and ultimately to Troy, NY, for 18 years as pastor of Saint Augustine’s Church (the first Augustinian foundation of our province in the north country).
While a devotee of Saint Rita since his youth, thanks especially to Father Francis Diehl, OSA, who taught all his parish school kids about our patron, Father Jim’s appreciation for our saint has grown exponentially since his assignment to the Shrine. The virtue in Rita which resonates the loudest for him is this: that in every vocation in which she found herself – daughter, wife, mother, widow, religious sister, and even in suffering – Rita gave it her best shot in the hopes of being a force for good … of being a blessing to someone. She carried on her parents’ legacy of bringing peace and reconciliation, kicking it up to new levels in dealing with things seemingly impossible. Bearing the thorn-wound seems a sign of her commitment to being an instrument of God’s peace.
Ordained in 1973, served as the Shrine Director for 15 years until December 2007 when he was elected Assistant General for the Order of St. Augustine and was assigned to Rome. He now serves as Prior Provincial for the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova. He writes an article regularly for The Peacemaker publication that began under his direction.