Msgr. James F. Coyne


Msgr. James F. Coyne, who was pastor of Assumption parish in Maybrook and taught psychology at Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx, died April 11 at the Community Hospital at Dobbs Ferry. He was 75 and had lived for about 14 years at St. Cabrini Nursing Home in Dobbs Ferry. Cardinal Egan celebrated the Funeral Mass April 16 at St. Paul's Church in Congers. The homilist was Father John F. Dwyer, pastor emeritus of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart parish in Tappan, who was a seminary classmate of Msgr. Coyne's. Father Dwyer told CNY that Msgr. Coyne was loved by his parishioners in Maybrook, who "rallied round him" after he became ill. He added that Msgr. Coyne "used a tool belt, hammer and nails, and became a craftsman to do repairs at his little country parish." He also said that Msgr. Coyne was "a very successful teacher, because he was gentle and kind with students." Father Dwyer said that James Coyne had been a top-notch golfer in his youth, perhaps good enough to qualify for the pro tour, "but he had another calling; he wanted to be a priest." He mentioned Msgr. Coyne's courage during his long illness. "He had many visitors who came to strengthen him and went away strengthened by him," he said. Msgr. Thomas J. Shelley, historian and professor at Fordham University, also was a friend of Msgr. Coyne's. "Anyone who visited Jim during the past 20 years came away knowing that Jim was still every inch a priest and was still exercising his priestly ministry through the example he gave us of patience and fortitude and trust in the Lord," he told CNY. He noted that Msgr. Coyne celebrated Mass in his room at St. Cabrini every Sunday. "He did not have the strength to do it every day...It took great effort on his part...he was often in pain and discomfort...but he knew that this was why he was ordained, and he knew that the Eucharist is our closest link with the risen Lord," he said. Ann Marie Smith, a sister of Msgr. Coyne's, told CNY that he baptized all 12 of his nieces and nephews, and took great delight in baptizing several grandnieces and grandnephews at St. Cabrini. "It was a highlight for him," and it also brought joy to other residents and to visitors at St. Cabrini, she said. Msgr. Coyne is survived by another sister, Eileen Greis, and three brothers, Raymond, Jerry and Vincent. Msgr. Coyne had been on sick leave since 1987; he retired in 2002. He was pastor of Assumption from 1983 to 1987 and taught at Cardinal Spellman from 1966 to 1983. He was named a monsignor in 1999. Born in the Bronx, he studied for the priesthood at Cathedral College and St. Joseph's Seminary in Dunwoodie. He was ordained June 2, 1956. He held a master's degree in psychology from Iona College and studied Spanish at Georgetown University. He served as a parochial vicar at St. Thomas Aquinas parish in the Bronx, 1964-1966, and at St. Ann's, 12th Street, 1960-1964, and Annunciation, 1956-1960, both in Manhattan. In the past he had worked extensively with suicide hotlines at New York University and Bellevue Hospital. Burial was at Gethsemane Cemetery in Rockland Lake.



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