Fr. Justin J. Bailey OFM

75 years of age, a professed Franciscan Friar for 54 years and a priest for 49 years, died on Saturday, July 4, 2009, at Maria Manor in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Fr. Bailey was born on November 24, 1933, in Lowell, Mass., to Angus and Gertrude (née Hall) Bailey. He was baptized Angus Joseph Bailey in Sacred Heart Church in Lowell. He attended Sacred Heart parochial school and Keith Academy in Lowell, graduating in 1951. Deciding on a Franciscan religious vocation, he then attended St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, NY, for three years.

He entered Holy Name Province of the Order of Friars Minor at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., on August 12, 1953, receiving the religious name of Justin, and professed his first vows there on August 13, 1954 before Fr. Cassian Kirk, OFM. He then pursued philosophical studies at St. Francis College in Rye Beach, N.H., and theological studies at St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J., and Holy Name College in Washington, D.C. He professed final vows on August 20, 1957 at Christ the King Seminary at St. Bonaventure, N.Y., before Fr. Celsus Wheeler, OFM, and was ordained to the priesthood on March 12, 1960, in the Church of Mount Saint Sepulchre, the Franciscan Monastery in Washington, D.C., by Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi, the Apostolic Delegate.

As a Franciscan, Fr. Bailey enjoyed a wide-ranging career as foreign missionary, hospital chaplain, preacher, and spiritual director. Following a year of pastoral studies at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, Mass. (1960-1961), he volunteered for the Province’s mission in Goiás, Brazil, where he served nine years. Returning to the United States in 1970, he ministered at Christ House in Lafayette, N.J., as retreat master and counselor. Then in 1973, he became Guardian and Director of Formation at Holy Name College in Washington, D.C. In 1976, he was appointed Provincial Spiritual Assistant for the Third Order of St. Francis, residing at St. Francis Retreat House in Rye Beach, N.H.

In 1978, Fr. Bailey began working as hospital chaplain at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., while taking courses in Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of South Florida. He then pursued graduate studies, earning a master’s degree in psychology from Boston College and a master’s degree in theology from the Weston School of Theology in 1982. That year he returned to his hospital chaplaincy at St. Anthony’s Hospital, also serving as spiritual assistant at Our Lady’s House of Prayer in Clearwater, Fla. In 1985, he was appointed Guardian and Director of the Province’s House of Prayer at St. Joseph Friary in Warwick, N.Y. In 1987, he again returned to hospital chaplaincy at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, also taking up retreat ministry at Our Lady of Divine Providence in Clearwater, Fla.

In 1989, Fr. Bailey began a full-time ministry as a preacher of retreats in the Province’s Ministry of the Word, based first at St. James Friary in Belleair Bluffs, Fla. He went to Canada in 1992 to continue that ministry, first at Mount Carmel Centre in Niagara Falls, and then in 1996, at St. Bonaventure Friary in Toronto. In 1998, he transferred to the Franciscan Center in Andover, Mass., and in 2000, to St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, Mass. In 2003, he became a full-time pastoral associate at St. Anthony Shrine, also assisting at Espiritu Santo Parish in Safety Harbor, Mass. On March 12 of this year he retired to St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla., and on June 23, due to declining health, he transferred to Maria Manor in St. Petersburg.

A Wake was held from 6 to 8 p.m., on Tuesday, July 7, 2009, with a 7 p.m. Vigil Service at
Brett Funeral Home in St. Petersburg, Fla. A Mass was celebrated by Fr. James Toal, OFM, Guardian of St. Anthony Friary, at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 8 at St. Mary Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in St. Petersburg.

There will be a Viewing from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. on Thursday, July 9 at St. Anthony Shrine, 100 Arch Street, Boston, MA, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. Provincial Minister John F. O’Connor, OFM, will preside and Fr. Daniel Lanahan, OFM, will preach the homily. Burial will follow at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in West Roxbury, Mass.

Fr. Bailey is survived by his brothers, Kevin of Westford, Mass. and Brendon of Dracut, Mass., and sisters, Gertrude of Lowell, Mass., and Miriam Provincher of Dracut, Mass. Condolences may be sent to Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Bailey of 46 Maple Road, Westford MA 01886.

May he rest in peace.