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Father James E. Shappelle dies at 91 [Updated]

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Father James Shappelle.
Father James Shappelle.

Father James E. Shappelle died Tuesday, June 28, at the age of 91.

He was born on August 19, 1924, in Cincinnati. He did his preparatory studies at St. Gregory Seminary and studied theology at Mount St. Mary’s of the West, Norwood. He was ordained on August 24, 1948 by Bishop George J. Rehring at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Norwood. He then studied in Rome at the Angelicum, receiving a Doctorate in Sacred Theology in 1950.

On August 28, 1950, Fr. Shappelle received his first assignment as assistant pastor at Sacred Heart, Dayton, and to teach in Latin School. In August 1951, he was appointed to study education at Catholic University, Washington D.C., where he received a master’s degree. On June 22, 1953, he was appointed instructor at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Norwood. On August 30, 1957, he was appointed Vicar Coop pro tem of St. Rita Parish, Dayton, and on December 11, 1957, Vicar Coop of St. Peter in Chains Parish, Hamilton. In June 1958, he was appointed Assistant Superintendent of Schools, especially to assist the Superintendent as director of catechetical instruction in schools and parishes. He was also chaplain for St. Clare Convent, Hartwell with residence there. In December 1958, he was appointed assistant pro-tem of St. Patrick Parish, Troy, Ohio.

Fr. Shappelle was appointed assistant pastor of St. Mary Parish, Greenville, on January 15, 1959. On June 16, 1959, he was appointed assistant chaplain of St. Clare Convent, working full-time at the Archdiocesan School Office, and in August, he was appointed chaplain of the Cincinnati Chapter of the International Federation of Catholic Alumnae. On August 28, 1962, he was appointed assistant pastor at St. Anthony Parish, Madisonville, while continuing as the Assistant Superintendent of Schools. On June 9, 1970, Fr. Shappelle was appointed assistant pastor at St. Leo Parish, Cincinnati, while continuing in the School Office. In September 1970, he was appointed as a teacher of religion at Seton High School (Cincinnati), continuing with his assignment at St. Leo Parish.

He was appointed pastor of St. Leo Parish and administrator of Our Lady of Presentation Mission on June 15, 1972. In July 1983, he was appointed associate pastor of St. Bernard Parish, Winton Place, and Mother of Christ Parish, Cincinnati. On June 26, 1984, Fr. Shappelle was appointed pastor of the two parishes. On January 1, 1985, he was appointed dean of the Cathedral Deanery until December 31, 1989 and was then reappointed dean until December 31, 1992. Fr. Shappelle was appointed temporary parochial administrator of St. Leo Parish from July through September 2007, while continuing as pastor of St. Bernard and Mother of Christ Parishes. In August 2009, he was appointed parochial vicar to the pastor of St. Bernard and St. Leo Parishes while continuing as canonical administrator of Mother of Christ Parish. On July 6, 2012, he was appointed parochial administrator of St. Bernard Parish, Winton Place, which includes the administration of Mother of Christ Parish, Cincinnati. He retired from active ministry on October 1, 2012.

Reception of the Body will take place at 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 5, at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains, with visitation until 7 p.m. Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr, Archbishop of Cincinnati, will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 6, 2016, at the Cathedral. Burial will follow immediately at Old St. Joseph Cemetery, Price Hill.


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Father James E. Shappelle, 91, has died.

Father Shapplle grew up in Cincinnati’s Holy Family parish. He attended St. Gregory’s and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, and was ordained a priest in 1948.

Over his long clerical life, Father Shappelle served parishes including All Saints, Mother of Christ, St. Anthony, St. Bernard, and St. Leo. Other posts included a faculty position at the seminary and the Archdiocesan school office. In recent years he served on the Presbyteral Council.

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