Father James O. Byrne
July 14, 2011
A Mass of Christian Burial for Father James O. Byrne was celebrated July 11 at Holy Rosary Church in St. Marys. Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr presided. Father Byrne, who was the oldest living priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, died July 6 at St. Charles Center in Carthagena at the age of 99.
A native of Glynwood, Father Byrne did his preparatory studies at St. Gregory Seminary and studied theology and philosophy at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West. He was ordained a priest on May 22, 1937, at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains by Archbishop John T. McNicholas.
In June 1937 Father Byrne received his first assignment as associate pastor at the former St. Patrick Church in Northside. In 1942 he was appointed procurator at the former Purcell High School in Cincinnati, where he served until 1954, and was also appointed associate pastor at Nativity of Our Lord Church in Pleasant Ridge, where he served until 1951. From 1951 through 1954, while continuing as procurator of Purcell High School, he was appointed associate pastor of St. Francis de Sales Church in Walnut Hills.
Father Byrne served as pastor of the following parishes: St. Paul, Yellow Springs (1954-1955); the former St. Paul, Over-the Rhine, Cincinnati (1955-1960); St. Anthony, Madisonville (1960-1962); St. Mary, Urbana (1962-1967); and St. Albert the Great, Kettering (1967-1980).
During his years of ministry, Father Byrne was also a member of the archdiocesan School Board and chaplain of the Legion of Mary, Curia of Northern Ohio. He retired from parish administration in 1980 with residence at Holy Rosary Parish. In 2004 he moved to St. Charles Center.
Interment was in St. Thomas Cemetery in St. Marys.