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Father John J. Byrnes

May 11, 2020 by Robert Bosworth, The Quincy Sun

Father John J. Byrnes, age 94, of St. Thomas Monastery at Villanova University died May 8.

Born March 20, 1926, to the late Thomas N. Byrnes and Mary (McGill) Byrnes of Quincy. Brother of the late Thomas N. Byrnes, Jr., Esq., Mary A. Curran, Claire Fahy and survived by his sister, Susan E. Strazzulla of Squantum, and his brother Paul J. Byrnes of Palm Desert, Calif.

Father John was a product of the Quincy Public Schools system, graduating from North Quincy High School in 1943. He then enlisted in the Army Air Corps, becoming a gunner during the war.

After the war and receiving an honorable discharge, he chose to enter the Augustinian Order of the priesthood and entered the seminary at Villanova University. He later studied at the Catholic University in Washington, D.C., receiving two Master’s degrees, one in geography and one in education. He was ordained at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on June 4, 1955. From 1956 to 1965, Father taught geography, history and religion at Monsignor Bonner High School in Drexel Hill, Delaware County, PA. He then taught religious studies at Villanova University where he was also the dean of students from 1965 to 1970.

Father Byrnes was also a pastor at several different parishes including St. Lawrence O’Toole in Lawrence, St. Nicholas Tolentine in the Bronx and St. Augustine in Lawrence from 1978 and during the 1980s. He was the pastor at St. Nicholas Tolentine in Philadelphia for many years until he went to the Monastery at Villanova. He founded three pro-life groups and was devoted to the Blessed Mother Mary organizing many pilgrimages to Medjugorjie often bring medical supplies for refugees of the war.

Father John spent many summers while visiting family in his native Quincy offering daily and Sunday Mass in his childhood parish, Sacred Heart in North Quincy.

Father John was an Irish Catholic priest in every manner during his 65 years in the priesthood. He shared his quick wit and breadth of knowledge with his 26 nieces and nephews and many grand nieces and nephews.

Father Byrnes will be interred with his Augustinian Friars at Mount Calvary Cemetery in West Conshohocken, PA.



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