Vatican II defined his vocation
Even though Vatican II ended a year before Father James Boyle was ordained in 1966, he said he feels the council nonetheless defined his vocation.
"I always felt that we were the bridge generation," said Father Boyle, pastor of St. John of Rochester Parish in Fairport. "The council took place when we were finishing up our studies, so we experienced the old church and were the beginning of trying to implement the Vatican Council into that church."
Although implementing some of Vatican II's changes could be challenging, this challenge was exciting for Father Boyle and his 15 classmates, and it kept them motivated, he said.
"It was never dull. It was a challenge to get people to see that the changes were bringing us closer to a more biblical-centered church and to what we perceive as the ministry of Christ to his people," he said.
For the past 41 years Father Boyle, 66, has risen to meet the daily challenge of connecting people to their God and their church, a journey he said he has enjoyed. He will retire in June and move to St. Joseph Parish in Penfield, where he will live with and assist Father James Schwartz, pastor.
Father Boyle grew up in Rochester's Holy Rosary Parish, where an assistant pastor named Father James Marvin inspired him to consider making the priesthood his own vocation. He later attended Rochester's St. Andrew's and St. Bernard's seminaries and was ordained June 4, 1966, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
He was first assigned to Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Rochester, where he served as assistant pastor for four years before he was assigned to St. John of Rochester Parish in Fairport. When Father Boyle became assistant pastor there in 1970, he had no way of knowing he would return to the parish more than two decades later to serve his longest pastorate.
In 1973 Father Boyle and Father John Mulligan became copastors of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Rochester. In 1981 Father Boyle was assigned to his first pastorate at St. Mary Parish in Elmira. He remained there until 1992 when he became pastor of St. John of Rochester.
Father Boyle will celebrate his retirement June 3 with a noon Mass at St. John of Rochester followed by a parish picnic on the church grounds.
Father Boyle said he is proud of his generous parishioners, about 1,000 of whom donate their resources and talents to the parish in some form or another. He's enjoyed forming new friendships at each parish he's served at, he said, as well as helping people deepen their faith.
"I enjoyed making connections with people, helping them to connect with a God who's constantly reminding them that they are loved and respected," he said.