BEACON, N.Y. — Richard James, OFM, 86, a professed Franciscan friar for 57 years, died on March 17 at St. Lawrence Friary, where he had lived since September.
Funeral services were held March 20 at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Butler, New Jersey. A viewing was held at 9:30 a.m. and a Mass of Christian burial at 10:30 a.m. Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, presided and Christopher Coccia, OFM, preached the homily. Burial was at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Butler. Due to the pandemic, attendance was limited. The Mass was broadcast via live-stream.
Richard was born on Nov. 9, 1934 in South Colton, New York, to John and Jane (née Lyman). He attended the State University of New York Teachers College of Potsdam, New York.
He was received into the Franciscan Order in July 14, 1962 at St. Raphael’s Novitiate in Lafayette, New Jersey, where he professed his first vows as a Franciscan a year later on July 15, 1963, the feast of St. Bonaventure, before Harold Blake, OFM. Richard professed his solemn vows before Donald Hoag, OFM, on Aug. 22, 1966 at Christ the King Seminary in Allegany, New York. He earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York, majoring in education.
Richard spent his religious life in education and administrative positions as well as in service roles at friaries. His first assignment in 1963 was as a tailor at Holy Name College in Washington, D.C., and then at St. Francis College in Rye Beach, New Hampshire. From 1972 until 1980, he lived at St. Francis of Assisi Friary in New York City where he worked as a teacher at St. Mary Star of the Sea School in Brooklyn.
After a one-year assignment in the finance office at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, Richard returned to New York City, where he worked at the Franciscan Pilgrimage office from 1983 until 1985, and then as a teacher at several schools – Immaculate Heart in Brooklyn, Our Lady of Hope in Middle Village, and St Anthony School in Manhattan.
In an article published on the HNP website, Richard said, “The best years of my religious life were the years I taught in those schools with the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn and Dominican and St. Joseph Sisters.”
In 1991, he was assigned to Sacred Heart Friary in East Rutherford, New Jersey, where he made habits. He returned to West 31st Street in New York City in 1992, spending two years working for the Franciscan Pilgrimage Office. He enjoyed traveling abroad – especially to England, Italy, Ireland and Portugal.
In his later years, Richard lived at two Provincial retirement houses – in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Boston, Massachusetts – where he served part-time on their staffs. Richard retired in August 2012 and lived at St. Anthony Shrine until he moved to Beacon last year.
He is survived by a sister, Keitha Macintire, and several nieces and nephews.
Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars – Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.
- “Celebrating Franciscan Life and Ministry” – July 3, 2013, HNP Today
- “Holy Name Province Congratulates 2013 Jubilarians” —Jan. 2 2013, HNP Today