ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Funeral services were held last week for Justin Bailey, OFM, 75, who died July 4 at Maria Manor here. A professed Franciscan friar for 54 years and a priest for 49, he was for many years a member of the Province’s Ministry of the Word.
Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial July 9 at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston.
Justin was born Nov. 24, 1933, in Lowell, Mass., to Angus and Gertrude Bailey. He was baptized Angus Joseph at Sacred Heart Church in Lowell. He attended Sacred Heart School and Keith Academy in Lowell, from which he graduated in 1951. Deciding on a Franciscan religious vocation, he attended St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., for three years.
He was received into the Order of Friars Minor in Holy Name Province at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., Aug. 12, 1953, and given the name Justin. He professed first vows there Aug. 13, 1954 before Cassian Kirk, OFM.
Justin pursued philosophical studies at St. Francis College in Rye Beach, N.H., and theological studies at St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J., and Holy Name College in Washington, D.C. He professed final vows Aug. 20, 1957, at Christ the King Seminary in Allegany, N.Y., before Celsus Wheeler, OFM, and was ordained a priest March 12, 1960, by Apostolic Delegate Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi in the Church of Mount St. Sepulchre, the Franciscan Monastery, in Washington, D.C.
As a Franciscan, Justin enjoyed a wide-ranging career as a foreign missionary, hospital chaplain, preacher and spiritual director. Following a year of pastoral studies at St. Anthony Shrine, he volunteered for the Province’s mission in Goiás, Brazil, where he served nine years.
Returning to the United States in 1970, he ministered as retreat master and counselor at Christ House in Lafayette, N.J. In 1973, Justin became guardian and director of formation at Holy Name College. In 1976, he was appointed provincial spiritual assistant for the Secular Franciscans, Third Order of St. Francis, residing at St. Francis Retreat House in Rye Beach.
Justin began working as hospital chaplain at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., in 1978, while taking courses in rehabilitation counseling at the University of South Florida — a role he would return to again in 1982 and 1987. He pursued graduate studies, earning master’s degrees in psychology from Boston College and theology from the Weston School of Theology in 1982. That year, he served as spiritual assistant at Our Lady’s House of Prayer in Clearwater, Fla., in addition to his hospital chaplaincy.
In 1985, he was appointed guardian and director of the Province’s House of Prayer at St. Joseph Friary in Warwick, N.Y. In 1987, he began a retreat ministry at Our Lady of Divine Providence in Clearwater.
In 1989, Justin became a full-time preacher of retreats for Ministry of the Word, based first at St. James Friary in Belleair Bluffs, Fla. The ministry took him to Canada, first to Mount Carmel Centre in Niagara Falls in 1992, then to St. Bonaventure Friary in Toronto in 1996. In 1998, Justin transferred to the Franciscan Center in Andover, Mass., and in 2000, to St. Anthony Shrine.
In 2003, he became a full-time pastoral associate at the shrine, also assisting at Espiritu Santo Parish in Safety Harbor, Mass. Justin retired in March of this year to St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg and transferred to Maria Manor on June 23 due to declining health.
A wake was held July 7 in St. Petersburg with a 7 p.m. vigil service. The following day, James Toal, OFM, guardian of St. Anthony Friary, celebrated a Mass in Justin’s honor at St. Mary Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in St. Petersburg.
His remains were then transported to Boston on July 9, where there was a viewing followed by the Mass of Christian Burial, at which Daniel Lanahan, OFM, preached the homily. Interment followed at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in West Roxbury, Mass.
Justin is survived by his brothers, Kevin of Westford, Mass., and Brendon of Dracut, Mass., and sisters, Gertrude of Lowell, Mass., and Miriam Provincher of Dracut, Mass. Condolences may be sent to Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Bailey of 46 Maple Road, Westford MA 01886.