Thursday, March 9, 2017

Father James Joyce

I learned many new things about Father Jim while transcribing this newspaper article from 1988. The specific origin of the article is unknown.  One of the things I found interesting was that he was inspired by Father MacConnachie, whom Joyce family members will recognize as the priest to the Joyce family on the plains of South Dakota in the early days.  You can read more about Father MacConnachie on my companion blog, Ancestor Soup, here.

By Randal Hunhoff

                Brandon – When Father Jim Joyce was sent to Risen Savior Catholic Church in Brandon in 1986, he must have been confounded by the new surroundings.  Risen Savior is a new church, built in 1981, and usually where Father Joyce is sent, a building follows close behind.
                Last Sunday, Father Joyce celebrated his 40th anniversary in the priesthood; he was ordained by Bishop William O. Brady on March 13, 1948.  Rise Savior parishioners celebrated with Father Joyce and members of his family, including a brother and sister who traveled from California to be with him.  Bishop Paul Dudley of the Sioux Falls Diocese and retired Bishop Lambert Hoch also attended.
                Father Joyce, a Redfield native, has been instrumental in supervising several major building projects completed in the Sioux Falls Diocese in the last three decades.
                He worked closely with architect Howard Perez when O’Gorman High School was built in 1960-61 and helped design the school.
                In the fall of 1964, when Roncalli High School was built, he was there, and remained as superintendent of the school until 1967 and the first class graduated.
                And when Holy Spirit Parish in Mitchell built a new church in 1976, he was the pastor who led them in the project during the money-tight years of the mid-70’s.
                He now serves on the Diocesan building commission, and will help with planning of the new parish in Sioux Falls.
                But it is teaching that Father Joyce recalls most fondly.  He taught science and math at Sacred Heart Junior High in Aberdeen, medical ethics at the McKennan Nursing School, religion at O’Gorman, sociology at Heelan, and many subjects while teaching 13 year[s] at Holy Spirit Grade School in Mitchell.
                Father Joyce attended St. Bernard’s Seminary in Sioux Falls for two years, and graduated from St. Paul’s Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1948, with majors in English, Latin, history and religion.  He earned an M.A. in Educational Administration from St Thomas College in St. Paul in 1958.  He credits Father George MacConnach[i]e, the parish priest in Redfield when he was growing up, with instilling in him an early interest in the priesthood.
                Father Joyce is not thinking of retirement and said he is happy to work at whatever job the Bishop gives him.  Anyway, as Father Howard Carroll told him in the reception line: “The first 40 years are the hardest, it’s all downhill from here.”
                Father Joyce’s first assignment was as an assistant pastor to Father Thomas Flood at Vermillion in 1948. He was also in charge of the Newman Club at the University.
                In 1949, he transferred to Sacred Heart Parish in Aberdeen, where he stayed for six years, and was chaplain at the Newman Club at Northern State.
                He was secretary to Bishop Brady and then Bishop Lambert Hoch from 1955-57, while also serving as chaplain to McKennan Hospital and teaching at the nursing school there.
                From 1958-61, he helped build O’Gorman High School and taught there, and also served as chaplain to the state penitentiary, “one of the most fascinating assignments I’ve had,” he says.  He also taught for a year at Heelan in Sioux City.
                He was pastor of Millette, near Aberdeen, serving two missions in Chelsea and Athol, at the same time helping to plan Roncalli High School.  He was superintendent of the school for three years, 1964-67.
                He served as pastor at St. Agatha’s in Howard for a year, and then spent 13 years at Holyl Spirit Parish in Mitchell, as pastor, teaching and planning a new church.
                In 1980 he was sent to St. Wilfred Parish in Woonsocket where he stayed four years.  He spent part of a year at St. Nicholas Parish in Tea, and then became Chancellor of the Diocese from 1984-87. 

                He is currently serving as pastor at Risen Savior parish in Brandon.

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