John J. Byrnes, O.S.A.

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1926 – 2020 (May 8)

John Joseph Byrnes was born on March 20, 1926, in Milton, Massachusetts, the son of Thomas N. Byrnes and Mary McGill. He had two brothers and three sisters. John was baptized on April 18, 1926, at Sacred Heart Church, Quincy, and attended Francis Parker Grammar School, North Quincy, and North Quincy High School. He served in the Army Air Corps from 1944 until 1946, after which he attended the School of Saint Philip Neri for Delayed Vocations for one year. He then enrolled at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, as a postulant, and was received into the Order as a novice on September 9, 1948. Following formation at Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, New York, John professed simple vows on September 10, 1949. He attended Villanova College and received his BA in Philosophy in 1952, after which he was assigned to Augustinian College, Washington, DC, for theological studies for the next four years. While there he also received an MA in Geography from the Catholic University of America in 1956. John professed solemn vows on September 10, 1952 and was ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 1955, at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC, by Bishop John McNamara.

Father Byrnes was assigned to teach at Msgr. Bonner High School, Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania from 1956 to 1965. In 1964, he received an MA in Education from Villanova University. From 1965 to 1968 he was assigned to Saint Mary’s Hall, the Augustinian Collegiate Formation House at Villanova, where he served as procurator and teacher. From 1968 to 1971 he was a member of Saint Thomas Monastery and served as the Director of the Seminary Guild and Director of the Augustinian Seculars. In 1971 he became a member of the preaching staff at Mount Augustine Retreat House, Staten Island, New York, but returned to Villanova University in 1973 as Dean of Students and dorm prefect while a member of Saint Thomas Monastery. In 1978, he served briefly at Saint Augustine Parish Troy, New York, and then was appointed pastor of Saint Laurence O’Toole Parish, Lawrence, Massachusetts. From 1980 to 1982 he was pastor of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, Bronx, New York, and in 1982-1983 was pastor of Saint Augustine Parish, Lawrence, Massachusetts. From 1983 to 1997 he served at Saint Mary Parish, Waterford, New York. He then served at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish, Dania Beach, Florida, (1997-1998). Father Byrnes was assigned to Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1998 as associate pastor and served there until May 2016, when, at the age of 90, he retired to Saint Thomas of Villanova Monastery.

Father John Byrnes was an affable friar, a zealous priest, and a loyal advocate for the Pro-Life movement. Until shortly before his death at 94 years of age, he continued to be an active member of the monastery community until debilitating health kept him confined to the community Health Care Facility. Always a devoted son of the Blessed Mother, he passed over to the Lord of natural causes, on May 8, 2020, the Feast of Our Lady of Grace, in the 70th year of his religious profession.