Father James F. O'Day, MM
Born: April 5, 1899
Ordained: June 17, 1928
Died: November 23, 1961
James F. O’Day was born on April 5, 1899 in Pawtucket, R.I. After graduating from St. Mary’s parochial school he worked for almost four years as an apprentice machinist, first at a bleaching factory and later at a machine manufacturing plant. He entered the Venard in September of 1917. After five difficult years of study (for he did not find studies attractive) he came to the major seminary and was ordained on June 17, 1928.
Father O’Day taught for one year at the Venard and in 1929 was assigned to Kaying. After language study he was assigned to the long established parish of Pet Teu Tshai. Two years later, circumstances compelled Bishop Ford to assign a pastor to another parish which needed much building and also religious instruction. Despite his recent arrival and short period of language study, Father O’Day had the qualities of mature judgment and dedicated zeal that made him the Bishop’s choice, and he was appointed as pastor of the parish of Lao Fou Heou. It was here that he spent most of his mission career, building up a strong body of Christians and completing necessary construction.
In 1949, after his second furlough, Father O’Day returned to China, but in February, 1950 he returned again to the states for medical treatment. In August he was assigned to the Venard where, along with his class work he was Director of the brothers. Two years later, because of poor health, he helped out in Milwaukee and then, needing a milder climate, was transferred to the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida.
A funeral Mass was celebrated in the church of St. Sebastian in Fort Lauderdale on the 27th and on the 29th a mass at Maryknoll followed by burial in our cemetery.