James A Jones, OFM
1943 – 2011
Fr. James Jones, OFM, was born on July 5, 1943 in St. Petersburg, Fla. He attended St. Paul’s Elementary School and St. Petersburg High School, graduating in 1961. He then studied at St. Petersburg Junior College for two years before entering St. Stephen’s Friary in Croghan, N.Y., in 1964 as a lay brother candidate. He was received into the Order in 1966 at St. Raphael’s Novitiate, Lafayette, N.J., professing temporary vows one year later. While part of the Province’s formation program, he received his credentials as a registered nurse in 1971. He professed solemn vows in 1970 and was ordained in 1976.
Following ordination, Fr. Jim served as parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Parish in Atlanta, Ga., from 1976 to 1979, also serving as prison chaplain at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Center in Jackson. In 1979, he returned to Washington to complete his master’s in divinity degree at the Washington Theological Union, while also training as a spiritual director at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. In 1980, he assisted Fr. Roch Coogan, OFM, as chaplain at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg for several months before being asked to serve as assistant novice master at St. Francis Friary in Brookline, Mass.
In 1982, Fr. Jim returned home to St. Petersburg, residing at St. Anthony Friary there for the rest of his life, except for one brief stint in New Jersey. He served as a member of the retreat team at the Franciscan Center in Tampa, Fla., from 1982 to 1988 before serving for a year as parochial vicar at St. Francis Parish in Brant Beach, N.J. He returned to St. Petersburg in 1989, where he took up the position of head chaplain at St. Anthony’s Hospital. Illness forced him to retire in 2005, although he served as on-call chaplain until his death. Fr. Jim also continued to minister informally to a wide circle of friends and associates whom he counseled.
He died on Dec. 14, 2011 at St. Anthony’s Hospital. Fr. Jim was 68 years old, a professed Franciscan friar for 44 years and a priest for 35 years.