Remembering Father Jim

Last Wednesday, Father James Mifsud, Pastor of Queen of Apostles Church in San Jose, passed away. He was 75 years old.

A wise man once said that “Heroes create joy.” Father Jim created a lot of joy for a lot of people. He was a hero, mentor, guardian, and friend to many thousands of people. James Mifsud stood for the integrity of the individual and looked for the divine in every person.

This is a man who visited people in prison every week for decades. This is a man who converted the parish rectory’s garage into a year-round distribution center for food, clothing, and toys. This is a man who, countless times, went to the hospital at 2 o’clock in the morning to hold the hand of someone dying. And this is a man who built a job placement center on the church’s property for people getting out of prison.

Years ago, at a funeral mass for Mary Lewinski (a beloved piano teacher to many in West San Jose) Father Jim looked out at the congregation and asked pointedly, “Who will replace her?” He then said that no one could really replace her, but that maybe, if one hundred of us joined together we could come close, and that we should at least try. He offered himself as one of that one hundred, and did so with true sincerity and humility. That was Father Jim…he was one of us.  Now, who will replace him?

Father Jim is gone. Some may be wondering, what do we do know?  Anyone who doesn’t know the answer to that question doesn’t deserve him. We know what to do. We keep going.  Stand up for integrity.  Always put the needs of children first. Comfort the sick. Don’t throw away those who are in prison. Provide for the less fortunate. Live a sober life. Respect yourself and others. And, most of all, NEVER GIVE UP!

A service for Father Jim will be held on Thursday, Oct 7 at 7pm at Mitty High School, 5000 Mitty Way.

There’s a Facebook page set up: Rest In Peace Father Jim

5 Comments

  1. Father Jim was like a member of my family. When he passed away last week my cousin, John Hoppin, sent this note:

    “He baptized our children, he presided over our marriages and he comforted us during the funerals of our family members. And he “Never Gave Up.” This is a man who will be missed. There is hole in my heart today. Love will fill it back in again.”

    For many years, my mother helped Father Jim prepare for mass every morning. The last time they saw each other, when he came to her house to deliver last rights, he sang to her. Not church songs—he sang Sinatra: “How much do I love you / I’ll tell you no lie / How deep is the ocean? / How high is the sky?”

    Father jim’s sermons were like that too—he was profound and wise but there was nothing sanctimonious about him. He was an ordinary man who held himself and the rest of us to very high standards.

    Pete—thanks for remembering him here.

    Cousin John also sent along this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2QZqNaGWTE

  2. I never knew the man, but I will just note that life in this country was a lot more pleasant when people took their cues from local community leaders, such as clergymen (whether Catholic or Protestant), rather than taking them from the mass media, as seems to be the fashion today.

    RIP

  3. Father Jim started a special and wonderful 7PM Sunday Mass at Queen of Apostles and he loved this mass.

    This mass has been eliminated!  Please help us get this mass back in honor of Father Jim.

    Please call or email the Pastor Father Mike.
    (408) 253-7560 ([email protected]).
    Father Mike respected, admired and was inspired by Father Jim. Please let Fr. Mike know that the community needs this mass.

    This is our church!  This is our community!  We want to honor our Father Jim!  We want Father Jim’s Mass back!