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James Toal Dies in Florida


James Toal (Photo courtesy of Octavio Duran, OFM)

PETERSBURG, Fla.– James Toal, OFM, 87, a professed Franciscan for 65 years — first as a Franciscan Brother of Brooklyn and then as a Friar Minor in Holy Name Province since 1974 — and a priest for 43 years, died on July 24 at Bon Secours Maria Manor.

Funeral services are planned for July 29 at St. Mary Our Lady of Grace Church, 515 North 4th Street South in St. Petersburg. A wake will be held from 9 to 10 a.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial celebrated by David Convertino, OFM. Kevin Mackin, OFM, will deliver the homily. Burial will be at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Clearwater, Fla.

Early Years
Jim was born on June 7, 1932, in Astoria, Queens, N.Y., to John and Catherine Toal (née Whyte). After attending St. Francis Prep School in Brooklyn, N.Y., he attended St. Francis College in New York City where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English, with minors in French and history. He also held a master’s in English from St. John’s University, and a Ph.D. in college administration and supervision from Fordham University. He studied theology at Boston Theological Institute, Harvard Divinity School, and the Weston School of Theology in Boston.

Jim was a member of the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, a Third Order Regular community, from 1952 to 1973, where he was known as Brother Fabian Toal, OSF.

He was received into the Order of Friars Minor on Sept. 14, 1973, at Holy Cross Church in the Bronx by Finian Kerwin, OFM, and made his profession on Sept. 17, 1974 – the feast of the Stigmata – at Holy Cross Church. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Lawrence Graziano on Dec. 6, 1975 in New York City.

Ministry
Jim spent roughly four decades in educational administration, with positions in leadership at three Franciscan colleges. Before joining the Order of Friars Minor, he served as principal of St. Francis Prep School and Bishop Ford High School, both in Brooklyn. After his ordination, Jim was stationed at St. Bonaventure University in Western New York from 1976 to 1983, where he served as executive vice president. In 1983, he was named the president of Quincy University, the Franciscan university in Quincy, Ill., affiliated with Sacred Heart Province, where he served as president for 14 years. He was a tenured professor at St. Bonaventure and Quincy universities.

In 1997, Jim was assigned to Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y., where he served as vice president and then as special assistant to the president. In 2008, he was assigned to St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg where he served as guardian from 2008 until 2014.

Jim is survived by his sister Phyllis Dircks of Huntington, N.Y., and a brother, Lawrence Toal of New York City.

Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars – Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.

— Jocelyn Thomas is the director of communications for Holy Name Province.

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