TAUNTON — On Might 14, 1933, Bishop James E. Cassidy, apostolic administrator of the Fall River diocese, presided over a dedication mass at St. Mary’s Church in Taunton for the brand new Monsignor James Coyle Excessive College for Boys.
Cassidy aptly selected St. Mary’s for the mass because the late monsignor had been its pastor since 1896 and he was instrumental in sowing the seeds that led to the varsity’s planning, development and opening.
Final April, the Fall River diocese introduced the everlasting closure of Coyle & Cassidy Excessive College and Center College, ending practically a century of teaching girls and boys within the Catholic custom.
Have been Coyle alive right this moment, he can be saddened to be taught that the varsity bearing his title had closed. However given his monetary acumen he would perceive the fiscal pressures that compelled the choice.
Born in County Longford, Eire in 1850, James was the oldest youngster of Daniel Coyle and Mary Riley.
Daniel and his household emigrated to the USA in 1862, settling in Apponaug Village, about 10 miles south of Windfall, the place the household labored their farm. In 1869 at age 19, James left Apponaug for St. Joseph’s School in Bardstown, Kentucky to start preparation for the priesthood.
After two years, he transferred to Lasalle Academy in Windfall adopted by two further years of research at Saint Laurent School close to Montreal. He then entered the Grand Seminary in Montreal and was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 22, 1877.
Coyle’s first project was assistant pastor at St. Francis Church in North Adams, Massachusetts. This posting was short-lived because the following 12 months he was reassigned to St. Brigid’s Parish in Millbury. Two years later, he transferred to the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul within the newly shaped Diocese of Windfall.
In 1885, the Windfall diocese established St. Joseph’s parish and put in Coyle as its founding pastor. With no church of their very own, Coyle and his congregants celebrated lots in a close-by Unitarian church till buying an previous church constructing and adjoining lands from the Zion Church Company.
After elevating further funds, Coyle started development of a rectory, a convent and a college devoted to the parish’s largest benefactor, George Babcock Hazard. Hazard was not Catholic however he acknowledged and supported Coyle’s need to supply a high quality schooling to town’s residents no matter their religion.
Shortly earlier than his loss of life, Hazard transformed to Catholicism. Throughout probating of his will, it was realized he had bequeathed the majority of his property to St. Joseph’s with Coyle as executor.
In 1896, a lot to the dismay of parishioners, the bishop chosen Coyle to be pastor at St. Mary’s Church in Taunton.
When Coyle introduced his switch at Sunday mass, he requested his congregants for no farewell ceremony, no testimonials, no items, and solely to be allowed to quietly slip away simply as he had come.
He did ask them to erect an appropriate monument over the grave of Hazard for his generosity. The request was rapidly fulfilled.
Upon arriving at St. Mary’s, Coyle undertook many formidable initiatives.
In 1899, the inside of the church was refurbished and beautified with the addition of the stained-glass home windows that also exist right this moment. He additionally started development of the rectory on Washington road that was accomplished in 1903.
Decided to enhance the lives of immigrants by means of schooling, he and the Sisters of the Holy Union based St. Mary’s Grammar College in 1908 welcoming greater than 500 college students that fall. Three years later, an annex was constructed on the rear of the varsity that housed coeducational courses within the new St. Mary’s Excessive College. By 1913, whole college enrollment exceeded 900 college students making St. Mary’s Sq. a distinguished metropolis landmark.
Coyle’s work and status did not go unnoticed. Recognized for his scholarly pursuits, ardour for literature and administrative acumen, the College of Notre Dame conferred upon him the honorary diploma of physician of legal guidelines (LL.D) at its graduation workouts in 1910. And in 1916, Pope Benedict XV raised him to the rank and dignity of a monsignor and later appointed him a home prelate — the best honor that may be bestowed upon a priest who’s serving underneath a bishop.
Within the late Twenties, St. Mary’s Excessive College may not accommodate additional development and was turning away college students. Realizing one other college was wanted, Coyle undertook a marketing campaign to determine a highschool for boys. Within the midst of the Nice Melancholy, he raised enough funds to rent an engineer and architect to start getting ready blueprints and conducting web site surveys. He additionally satisfied his bishop to signal a contract with the Congregation of the Holy Cross of Notre Dame College to supply Catholic Brothers specializing in secondary schooling.
Coyle ministered to the poor, organized and unified congregations and promoted schooling, and he was additionally a loyal and proud American.
5 years after arriving in America, he took the oath of citizenship on Christmas day, 1867. He made certain the American flag stood alongside Papal colours in his pulpits.
However maybe most of all, his means to ship stirring speeches was his hallmark. Masking the brand new highschool’s dedication ceremony in 1933, The Taunton Day by day Gazette mentioned this about him:
“Of the various attainments of the venerable pastor of St. Mary’s none stands out any brighter than his status as an orator. His English is of the purest diction and his supply, that of the grasp of his artwork, made Monsignor Coyle one of the vital sought public audio system in New England.”
One instance of his oratory ability was an deal with to Taunton’s Ninth Firm, Coast Artillery Corps, who had been getting ready to depart for France in July 1917.
The corporate marched from their armory on North Nice road to the central railroad depot the place they’d start their abroad deployment. The Taunton Day by day Gazette reported the route was lined with hundreds of individuals and was the most important parade ever held so far. After the troopers shaped on the depot, and following remarks by the governor, mayor and different dignitaries, the monsignor started his elocution.
Accounts of the day describe his phrases as one of many traditional speeches in Taunton historical past. The railroad even delayed the prepare’s departure till the monsignor completed talking. He ended with this exhortation to the troopers:
“Boys of the Ninth, we ship you forth as did the Spartan matrons, to return together with your shields upon them! We place our honor, that of our metropolis and state, unreservedly in your palms. Our love, our prayers, our blessings, accompany you. Strike rapidly and successfully and the world’s mightiest nation will crown you with imperishable laurels, or chart your requiem until time is not any extra.”
Then, the throng of assembled Tauntonians, many with tears of their eyes, bid farewell to their sons and husbands.
Plans for the brand new highschool had been progressing nicely however the monsignor’s well being was not. Conscious his loss of life could also be nearing, the priest penned his personal obituary in a 1928 letter to his parishioners. Its closing paragraph contained a last plea:
“And now, my pricey, devoted individuals, a last, emphatic phrase to you. When God summons me to render an account of my stewardship, lay me away amongst my very own, with out blare of trumpet, or exaggerated eulogy, and beseech the Nice Excessive Priest to have mercy on my poor, sinful soul.”
On June 20, 1931, Coyle died peacefully in St. Mary’s rectory on the age of 80. Upon his passing, the Boston Globe printed his obituary-letter in its entirety. His property, valued at lower than $1,000, was bequeathed to St. Mary’s College. The funeral was a solemn pontifical requiem mass at St. Mary’s with the Proper Reverend William A. Hickey, Bishop of Windfall, presiding.
Cassidy delivered the eulogy by which he introduced development of the brand new college and its title: Monsignor James Coyle Excessive College for Boys.
That fall, Cassidy selected the location for the brand new highschool — lots at 61 Summer season St. — the place the previous Bethlehem Dwelling for Orphans as soon as stood. The cornerstone was laid on Oct. 16, 1932 with a dedication mass the next Might. Within the fall of 1933, the highschool admitted its top notch. Brother Marcian Stanislaus Karsky, C.S.C. was its founding principal.
The brothers who taught earned an annual wage of $800 and tuition was $75 per 12 months.
Coyle’s dream had been fulfilled.
Generations of boys from Taunton and surrounding communities attended Coyle Excessive. Yearbooks from 1941-1945 are crammed with tributes to Coyle males who served throughout WWII.
Within the publish battle years, demographics had been altering and so did Coyle Excessive. Confronted with rising prices, declining enrollment and fewer educating clergy, Coyle merged with Bishop Cassidy Excessive College for Women in 1971.
The brand new Coyle & Cassidy Catholic Excessive College at Hamilton and Adams streets had returned to its coeducational roots persevering with to supply younger women and men a high quality schooling.
Historical past is replete with examples of women and men who discover themselves within the midst of difficult occasions. Leaders are born from these troublesome conditions. They set lofty objectives and make daring selections to attain the ends. Coyle was no exception.
His arrival in the USA appears preordained because it permitted him to minister to the non secular and academic wants of immigrants who had been arriving in droves through the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Have been it not for his untiring and relentless dedication to schooling, many a younger boy or lady could haven’t been afforded the chance of a Catholic schooling. He served his metropolis, his state, his nation and God very nicely.
At the moment, this beloved priest rests in an unobtrusive and easy plot in St. Francis Outdated Cemetery. His grave is marked with a small gravestone bearing this inscription:
Pray for Monsignor James Coyle
Died June 20, 1931. In His 81st 12 months
Few and easy phrases for a magnanimous but humble man.
Frank Coyle is a retired U.S. Navy officer and beginner genealogist residing in Virginia Seashore, Virginia. His father and uncles are among the many many males who attended Coyle Excessive and he’s a distant cousin, a number of generations eliminated, of James Coyle. Attain him at firstname.lastname@example.org.