Category: Feature Stories

Father James Albert Hayes, Josephite priest, dies at age 92



December 19, 1924 – July 13, 2017

In his 62nd year as a Josephite priest, Father James Albert Hayes passed to a new life at St. Joseph Manor, Baltimore, MD, on July 13, 2017. He had been retired for 15 years and in the past year experienced a serious illness. He recently celebrated his 92nd birthday.

Father Hayes was born December 19, 1924, in Presque Isle, Maine, one of three sons and one daughter of Albert and Verna (O’Brien) Hayes. He served with the Army Air Corps in World War II and graduated from Holy Cross College, Worcester, MA, in 1950. Motivated by the mission of the Josephites, he then entered their formation program and was ordained in his home parish church in Presque Isle on June 4, 1955.

His parochial assignments as a priest were limited to two St. Joseph churches, one in Jackson, TN, for the month of July, 1955, and the other in Wilmington, DE, in August of the same year. For the rest of his priesthood, he was associated with the Josephite seminaries in Newburgh, NY, and Washington, DC.

From September of 1955 to September of 1984, he was on the staff of Epiphany Apostolic College in Newburgh, NY. He served as as faculty member teaching Religion, English and the Humanities. In addition, he had been Prefect of Discipline, Director of Athletics, Principal of the High School and Rector of the College and overseer of the building until its final sale in the mid-’80s. During this time, Father obtained a Master’s Degree in the Humanities from St. Bonaventure University in Olean, NY.

During his time at Newburgh, Father Hayes became interested in and studied painting and sculpture and held several exhibits of his work of over 100 pieces of art, some of which adorn several Josephite houses.

In 1985, he was assigned to St. Joseph’s Seminary as assistant director and supervisor of its custodial care as well as assistant to the Pastoral Center. He also had five more exhibits of his art work. In 2001, he retired to Maine on sick leave and ten years later entered St. Joseph Manor.

Father Hayes is predeceased by his parents; sister, Mary and brothers, Jack and Father Pat of the Portland, Maine, Diocese. He is survived by several nieces and nephews including Father William Shaughnessey, an Opus Dei priest.

His funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Joseph Manor, Baltimore on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Burial will be at the Josephite plot in New Cathedral Cemetery, Baltimore. May he find the peace and joy of the Lord which he sought to express in his art.

Junior Knights and Daughters engage youth

By Ariana Cassard

When the Knights of Peter Claver gather in Kansas City, MO, for the 22nd Biennial National Convention in July, the Junior Knights and Junior Daughters will have a prominent role.

The convention is an opportunity for Junior members to exchange ideas, receive encouragement and discuss opportunities.
A strong community is created when young people are involved in leadership positions.

The Knights of Peter Claver, the largest African-American Catholic lay organization in the world, created the Junior Division to encourage strong leadership skills for youth. The Junior Division has the same mission and structure as the Knights, but is comprised entirely of Catholic youth ages seven through 18.

The Junior Knights and Daughters have local and state divisions through which youth can gather to impact their community through events, conferences and community outreach.

This division enables youth to not only be part of a large organization, but to be leaders. Members enter into an election for leadership positions across the local, state and national levels.

Since the 2015 National Convention in Orlando, Junior Supreme Knight Carrington Guillory and Junior Supreme Lady Callia Cox have served in top leadership roles.
Carrington, 15, is a sophomore at St. Louis Catholic High School in Lake Charles, LA. He made history by succeeding his older brother, Creighton Guillory, as Junior Supreme Knight.

“While watching my brother conduct himself around the organization as Junior Supreme Knight, I knew that I could bring my leadership skills to the Junior Division,” said Carrington.

Callia was initiated into the Junior Division in Charleston, SC, where she lived until her family relocated to New Orleans last year. The 18-year-old is a senior at The Academy of Our Lady in New Orleans.

Both Carrington and Callia said they were honored to hold this office over the past two years. Their duties include writing speeches, traveling to local conferences, handling communication and planning for the upcoming Convention. According to Callia, preparations for the 22nd National Convention began over a year and a half ago.

Through their involvement in the Junior Division, Carrington and Callia are able to meet and work alongside Knights of Peter Claver in both the Senior and Junior Divisions.

As Junior Supreme Lady, Callia said that she has been changed by her experience. “This position has given me a voice, it’s taken me out of my comfort zone,” said Callia, who described herself as shy. She now feels she has a business mind and leadership skills that are more developed than most of her peers.

Both officers have been able to use their platform to bring attention to worldwide issues. Callia’s focus has been shining a light on homeless youth. “As kids we know how it feels to be a kid, but don’t know how it feels to be homeless, to have both of those burdens,” Callia told The Harvest.

She chose the Junior Daughters’ charity for this year’s convention, which is “Morning Glory Café,” a volunteer-run café tackling homelessness in Kansas City.

Carrington has focused his service around a housing project in Haiti, hosted by Cross Catholic Outreach. “Each home costs approximately $6,000, providing four rooms on a concrete slab,” said Carrington.

These are youth-led ideas, presented at a national level, with an international impact.

Carrington and Callia will soon pass the torch to a new pair of young leaders, elected at this year’s national convention. They both hope their successors will use their roles to listen to their fellow Juniors and create a pipeline for new ideas.

Celebrate the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 23!

Do you know why the Josephites are called Saint Joseph’s Society of the Sacred Heart?

It’s because, inspired by Saint Joseph, the Josephites have a very special devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

This year the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart is June 23, which is 19 days after Pentecost. The Josephites lead an annual “Sacred Heart of Jesus Novena of Reparation for the Offenses Against Life.” You are invited to join us in this special novena. The Novena begins on June 23, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The Josephites lead this novena with special confidence because a devotion to the Sacred Heart is part of our name: The Society of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart has been ministering in the United States for more than 140 years. Please join us in this unique mission of evangelization.

The Josephites are Pro-Life and Pro-Family. Saint Joseph protected his family when they fled to Egypt as the Holy Innocents were being slaughtered in Nazareth. Today more than ever, we need this protection against the attacks against family life. And you can help!

As you know, there are many attacks against life – abortion, euthanasia, immoral stem cell research – that take place every day. During the month of June, you are invited to join the Josephites in prayer to make reparation for these sins against life. Every life is sacred. Every human life is made in the image and likeness of God. Every human life deserves our respect and protection. With your help, we can build a culture of life.

In June, the Josephites will pray in Reparation for Offenses Against Life. We will pray that the unjust acts against life – “God’s most precious gift” – will stop. You can add your prayer intentions to ours as we make reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by visiting

May good Saint Joseph intercede for you and all your special intentions. You can be assured that we Josephites will be praying through the intercession of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for all your special needs and intentions.

A life of service

St. Luke parish in Washington honors long-serving staff for commitment

By Ariana Cassard

Successful parishes need a dedicated staff. At St. Luke Church in Washington, D.C., two men were recently honored for more than four decades of service to the parish community.

John Quarles joined the staff at St. Luke Church over 40 years ago. As director of St. Luke’s Community Center, Mr. Quarles showed up every day to care for the center and the programs that take place there.

St. Luke’s Community Center is the social arm of the parish. It is home to a number of community programs, such as youth basketball, social activities, Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous programs, and CSOSA, a program run by the U.S. Justice Department to re-integrate those returning home from incarceration. Mr. Quarles cared for each of these activities.

“He lifts up his Catholic faith and understands the meaning of service,” said Josephite Father Cornelius Ejiogu, pastor of St. Luke Church and personal friend to Mr. Quarles.

When Father Cornelius began his pastorate at St. Luke, Mr. Quarles was one of the first men he met. The other was Eugene Russell.

Mr. Russell is described as a quiet, dedicated man who has devoted his life to doing the background work at St. Luke.

Mr. Russell began working in maintenance at St. Luke 23 years ago, as an assistant to the maintenance supervisor. By the time of his retirement, he had been promoted to maintenance engineer.

His duties included ensuring the church is properly taken care of both on the inside and outside, as well as welcoming groups at the church for parties and meetings. Father Cornelius praised Mr. Russell’s dedication to the church, saying he cared for it as he would his own home.

Mr. Russell told The Harvest that in his retirement, he misses the parishioners the most. “I love interacting with the parishioners of the church. It was very helpful for me with my job,” he said.

The legacy of these two men was celebrated with a retirement party in the church hall in January. Over 300 parishioners, friends and family members gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving, followed by a luncheon in St. Luke Center. Each retiree was awarded a plaque in appreciation of their years of service.

Both Mr. Quarles and Mr. Russell will be remembered for the impact they had on St. Luke Church. “These men loved St. Luke with all their heart, and I think that’s the genesis of all their sacrifice,” said the pastor.

While they have retired from their duties, Father Cornelius said he would not miss these men, because he will still see them at Mass every Sunday.

KPC turns 102

Knights and Ladies to gather in Dallas

When the assembled Knights and Ladies of Peter Claver gather in Dallas, July 21-26, they will be bringing together the largest organization of African-American Catholics in the world.

The annual event, which marks the 102nd meeting of the national group that was founded by four Josephite priests and three laymen, is an excellent opportunity to network and to share ideas.

According to James K. Ellis, Supreme Knight, “We encourage the members of all Councils and Courts to register and attend the National Convention. The National Convention provides an opportunity for attendees from different states and districts to network with one another and is also a perfect opportunity to share ideas for the programs of our noble objectives.”

The festive and informative convention includes a business meeting, workshops, keynote speakers and an awards dinner.

The event also will have a charitable focus. A fashion show luncheon will benefit Catholic Charities of Dallas and Fort Worth and a “white linen dance” will raise funds for the Earl Harvey Kidney Fund and the Tolton Educational Fund.

Special awards will be presented for the Cartegena Award, given to a Knight for service and achievement. The Good Neighbor Award will be presented to the top three Grand Assemblies that performed the most outstanding deeds for their fellowman and Claverism.

‘I am a product of a Josephite parish’

Father Rodney Armstrong

By Ariana Cassard

Editor’s note: This article is part of a series introducing Harvest readers to Josephite priests and brothers in ministry.

Father Rodney Armstrong’s Catholic education has always been rooted in the Josephite society.

“I became a Josephite because I am a product of a Josephite parish,” said Father Armstrong, who was baptized and confirmed in Corpus Christi church in New Orleans. He has always been a Josephite parishioner and credits his vocation to this deep involvement.

Beyond his rich Josephite history, the Josephite mission was what called Father Armstrong to the priesthood. “It was the only community of priests and brothers that worked exclusively in the African-American Catholic community,” Father Armstrong told The Harvest.

This unique charism placed the Josephites at the top of a young Armstrong’s vocational considerations.

As a summer seminarian, Father Armstrong learned more about the role of a Josephite priest while serving in a series of Texas parishes. After his ordination in 1991, his first assignment was as an associate pastor in Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Washington, D.C.

Throughout his experience as a Josephite, each assignment has delivered different joys and challenges. He faced his greatest challenge during his assignment at Holy Family church in McNair, Texas.

The parish was in need of a new facility to better serve its parishioners and community members. Father Armstrong was tasked with creating a new parish center. Although it was difficult to get the project off the ground from conception to completion, the outcome cemented this project in his mind as a victory.

“It was a game-changer for the parish,” said Father Armstrong. “It made all the difference in the life of the parish.” With additional classrooms, office space, a commercial-sized dining room and kitchen, the completion of this parish center aided and encouraged Father Armstrong in his ministry at Holy Family.

After reflecting on this logistical triumph, Father Armstrong told The Harvest that his greatest joy in his vocation has been serving people. “Working in the parish is what I call ‘being in the trenches’ because that is where the basic work of the church is done.”

Throughout his 26 years of service, he has had the privilege of forming relationships with parishioners from different parishes across the country, each of which he has cherished.

“In many of those situations you are embraced and you become part of the people’s lives, and sometimes part of their families,” said Father Armstrong.

Father Armstrong now serves as the pastor at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Houston, Texas, which included for the first three years a part-time chaplaincy at Texas Southern University Catholic Newman Center.

Father Armstrong celebrated the 25th anniversary of his ordination in 2016.

What is a Missionary?

By Father Joseph Doyle, SSJ

When we think of “foreign missions” we think of priests and religious men and women traveling thousands of miles to preach the Gospel “to all the nations.”
Such was the dream of Father Herbert Vaughan who opened St. Joseph’s College of the Sacred Heart at Mill Hill, London, England on March 19, 1866 to begin training men for the foreign missions. His plan was to send his first missionary priests to Africa, Asia and other “pagan lands.”

After many painful negotiations with the Holy See about the assignments for the four recently ordained priests, Pope Pius IX, upon the advice of Archbishop Martin John Spalding of Baltimore, agreed to send them to the United States to “evangelize Negroes.”

Father Vaughan departed for America with his four “apostolic missionaries” on Nov. 17, 1871 and arrived in Baltimore on Dec. 5, 1871. They were known as St. Joseph’s Society of the Foreign Missions, consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Some knew them as Josephite-Mill Hill missionaries who were trained in England and served in the African-American communities of Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina and elsewhere.

By 1893, the American Josephites separated themselves from the English Mill Hill Missionaries but both communities remained missionaries in foreign lands. It was not until 1908 that the Holy See decided to drop the United States from the list of “mission territories” which depended on clergy, religious and donations from Europe to build up the Body of Christ, the Church, spiritually and materially in our country.

The Vatican must have realized that the Catholic Church in the United States could now stand on its own feet in terms of financial resources and personnel. At last, we had a growing number of indigenous clergy and seminaries would continue to multiply for the next fifty years or so. Catholic parishes and schools, some staffed by diocesan priests and others by religious communities, grew at an unprecedented rate.

One of the many reasons for this phenomenal growth was that many Catholics were mission-minded. Having benefited from the good work of missionaries in our own country, it was now the obligation of U.S. Catholics to support their own parishes and schools without neglecting the foreign missions.

For example, in 1918, the Catholic Student Mission Crusade was started by two Society of the Divine Word seminarians in Techny, Illinois for the purpose of supporting missions at home and abroad. By the 1930’s, nearly a half-million members were enrolled in Catholic high schools, colleges and seminaries, including the Josephite seminary in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, in 1972, the national office of the CSMC closed its doors. Were Catholics, especially young Catholics, losing their sense of mission-mindedness? Or, was it perhaps a new vision of “mission,” presented by Vatican Council II that was not yet fully understood?

The Council document, “Ad Gentes,” explained that, “the specific purpose of missionary activity is evangelization and the planting of the Church among those people and groups where she has not yet taken root” (AG, 6). It goes on to say that the “work of evangelization” remains the personal responsibility of all Catholics who have the obligation to actively support and promote the missions. That is how we become “heralds of the Gospel.”

Having begun as “foreign missionaries,” the Josephites are now “home missionaries,” serving exclusively in the African-American community in the United States.

For the past fifty years or more, the Josephites have worked with other religious communities such as the Paulists and Glenmarys in promoting the ideas and experiences of evangelization based on the teachings of Pope Paul VI’s “Evangelii Nuntiandi” and Pope John Paul II’s “Redemptoris Missio.” Many good, creative initiatives have come out of this collaboration, especially in our parishes. These documents provide the theological foundation for an understanding of evangelization and the “new evangelization.” Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ itself, properly internalized and proclaimed by the way we live, would be a better way to restore a sense of mission-mindedness.

Were Catholics, especially young Catholics, losing their sense of mission-mindedness?

There is nothing wrong with being an “arm chair missionary” whereby we offer our prayers and sacrifices for missionaries. St. Therese of the Child Jesus is a perfect example. She and St. Francis Xavier are patrons of the missions – one contemplative and the other active.

We can support the missions financially following the example of Ven. Pauline Marie Jaricot who, as a young woman, collected a penny a week from the employees in her family’s silk factory in France. She is considered the foundress of the Society of the Propagation of the Faith. Now days, a penny per week doesn’t go very far, so parishioners are asked to be generous in the Mission Sunday collection, the Indian and Negro Mission collection and the collection for the Home Missions.

The concept of mission-mindedness can take many different forms. It is a wonderful thing to see how many affluent Catholic parishes “twin” with poor parishes at home and abroad. The wealthy parishes have reported many blessings as a result of their sacrificial generosity, not the least of which is an increase in vocations from their parishes as a result of young parishioners taking mission trips to countries such as Haiti and Mexico. Some families have visited their “twin” parish as a summer vacation instead of going to the beach or a theme park.

Finally, the tables have turned. Missionaries from Africa, such as the Missionaries of St. Paul, have been coming to the United States to fill the gap left by the serious shortage of American vocations. The Josephites have been relying on vocations from Africa to join our ranks, and after seminary training in Nigeria and Washington, D.C., they are ordained to serve in the African-American community. It appears that once again, the United States is “mission territory.”

Father Joseph Doyle, SSJ, is novice director for the Josephites.

‘Thank you St. Joseph for leading us to the Josephites’

Four priests honored for 220 years of ministry

By John Powers

A jubilant congregation of Josephites and friends gathered in the chapel at St. Joseph Seminary on May 2 to celebrate the lifetime of ministry provided by four Josephite priests.

Father John Filippelli, Father Frank Hull and Father Charles Moffatt were honored by 60 years of priestly service. Father Robert Zawacki was recognized for 40 years of ministry.

Superior General Father Michael Thompson, SSJ, principal celebrant at the jubilee Mass, noted that the four had collectively offered 220 years of ministry in the African American community.

“We offer you our warmest love for your service and dedication,” he said at the conclusion of the Mass.

He said that stories of their early ministry in rural areas of the south, missionary territory for Josephites, were overwhelming. “But God gave you the grace to do saintly and extraordinary things. Now we take up the mantle and continue in the missionary spirit that you have shown throughout your years of priestly service.”

Father Filippelli, a former superior general, gave the homily, which recounted Josephite history and challenges that racism posed both inside and outside the church.

“The most important work in the church today is fulfilling an obligation to African Americans.”

Speaking from a wheelchair, Father Filippelli preached about the virtues of St. Joseph. “It was Joseph who taught Jesus to speak and to work. Listening to Jesus is like listening to Joseph.”

He described an effort by Pope John XXIII who, at the Second Vatican Council, aimed to increase awareness of St. Joseph as patron of the church. But when the saintly pope died as the Council began, the St. Joseph campaign was stalled. “It took 50 more years before St. Joseph’s name was added to the Eucharistic prayer,” he said.

Describing the role of St. Joseph as the “first missionary,” Father Filippelli recalled how the founder of the Josephites, Cardinal Vaughn, was instructed to start his missionary work. “He was told to go to the United States and to respond to the needs of the recently emancipated people there. And we give thanks for the good work that they did.”

He said that after World War II, there were a quarter of a million African American Catholics mostly due to the work of the Josephites. “Why didn’t we have more,” he asked. “Because we didn’t understand racism.”

Father Filippelli indicated that there was racism inside the church as well as in society. “The greatest challenge is to continue the missionary work among the African American community. The most important work in the church today is fulfilling an obligation to African Americans.”

Reflecting on his life as a Josephite, Father Filippelli said, “Each and every Josephite who has given a permanent commitment has received the gifts of joy and peace that come from serving in the African American community. This permanent commitment is a special gift from God. We all can say thank you to St. Joseph for leading us to the Josephites and the African American community.”

A celebratory luncheon was held at the seminary at the conclusion of Mass.

Four Josephites honored for 220 years of ministry

A jubilant congregation of Josephites and friends gathered in the chapel at St. Joseph Seminary on May 2 to celebrate the lifetime of ministry provided by four Josephite priests.
Father John Filippelli, Father Frank Hull and Father Charles Moffatt were honored by 60 years of priestly service. Father Robert Zawacki was recognized for 40 years of ministry.

Superior General Father Michael Thompson, SSJ, principal celebrant at the jubilee Mass, noted that the four had collectively offered 220 years of ministry in the African American community. “We offer you are warmest love for your service and dedication,” he said at the conclusion of the Mass. “God gave you the grace to do saintly and extraordinary things throughout your years of priestly service.”

A celebratory luncheon was held at the seminary at the conclusion of Mass.

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Baltimore mom prays for racial healing, solutions to social injustice

Editors: A video to accompany this story can be found at

BALTIMORE (CNS) — Crystal Morris is a busy woman. The 55-year-old West Baltimore resident makes sure her neighborhood church is always open for those who seek Jesus.

Crystal Morris poses for a photo outside the rectory of St. Peter Claver Church in Baltimore March 7. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn) See MOTHERS-DAY-SOCIAL-AWARENESS April 11, 2017.

Nestled near the corner of Bloom Street and North Freemont Avenue, sandwiched between an elementary school and a catchall grocery, she answers God’s phone calls and doorbells, researches baptismal records, and even washes and irons his altar linens.

Crystal Morris poses for a photo in the rectory of St. Peter Claver Church in Baltimore March 9. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn) See MOTHERS-DAY-SOCIAL-AWARENESS April 11, 2017.

“This church has been a beacon of hope for a lot of people in our community,” she told Catholic News Service from St. Peter Claver Church’s rectory. “We have people coming in and out of here asking for help with rent, gas, electricity — they come here for food and clothing.”

Poverty is no joke in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood. Door after door, window after window, homes are boarded up with a sadness associated with war.

In 2015, residents took to these same streets near the African-American church to feud with police after 25-year-old Freddie Gray died in their custody.

“Some people are not grounded and rooted in Christ,” the mother of three adult children said about social injustices. “I tell my two daughters to keep praying. Pray because God can do anything but fail.”

Crystal Morris, holding Bible, poses March 9 for a photo with her sister Bernadette Johnson, and her two daughters Cierra, far left, and Candace, right. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn) See MOTHERS-DAY-SOCIAL-AWARENESS April 11, 2017.

Prayer and song, Morris makes sure her devotion is heard during Mass as a choir member.

“She loves herself some Smokie Norful!” her youngest daughter Cierra, 20, said about her mom’s appreciation for the Grammy-winning gospel singer. “She sings all around the house like 24/7.”

“She thinks she’s Whitney Houston!” Candace, her eldest daughter, 23, said jokingly.

Church life and church employment have been a blessing for the Morris family. Crystal told CNS that she thanks God for her time on earth because she, too, has lost friends and family to drug and alcohol addiction, and violence.

“It takes a village,” Morris said when asked about raising kids under these circumstances. “The older women in the parish always had an eye out (for each other’s children) and the kids did not like that. Sometimes they would get a little puffy and give you a look, but they stayed respectful.”

“I think it’s a good thing that mom works at the church,” Candace said.

“We can tell it’s a big part of her, and it feels good,” Cierra said.

Crystal Morris shows the Bible her mother gave her and her sister in 1972. Morris credits her mother for her spiritual foundation in Christ. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn) See MOTHERS-DAY-SOCIAL-AWARENESS April 11, 2017.