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    REV. JAMES JOSEPH HYNES.—A fellow citizen whose catholicity of views and warm-hearted sympathies render him serviceable to many beyond the limits of his own circles, and therefore a power for cultural as well as moral uplift in the community, Rev. James Joseph Hynes is the very acceptable pastor of St. Thomas’ Catholic Church at Oroville.  Born in Kinnegad, County Meath, Ireland, April 12, 1871, he was the son of Michael Joseph Hynes, a farmer, and one in the line of an old prominent Irish family.  His mother was Ann Kelly, a native of the same district, and the mother of six boys and two girls, all of whom are still living.  A brother is Father M. Hynes, pastor of the Catholic Church at Maxwell, in Colusa County, and another brother is Father Malacky, a member of the Franciscan Order, and a pastor of a church in Philadelphia.

     Brought up at Kinnegad where he attended the public school, James Joseph chose the priesthood for his vocation, and entered St. Mary’s Seminary at Mullingar, where he completed his classical course of four years, after which he entered All Hallow’s College, in Dublin.  For two years he studied philosophy and for four years theology, and in 1989, on June 24, in All Hallow’s Church was ordained to the priesthood.  His class was the first class ordained in the new church and the ordination was performed by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Moore at Ballarat, Australia, for the Sacramento diocese; on which account he came to California and Sacramento.  He left Ireland, September 8, 1898, on the steamship Germanic, and arrived in New York, September 15, and when he reached Sacramento he was appointed in October, 1898, as assistant to Father Coleman at Marysville.  This designation was made by Bishop Grace, and for three and a half years Father Hynes did his full duty in the parish of his apprenticeship.

     On the death of Father Toomey—by drowning, while he was attempting to cross a swollen stream in a buggy—on March 8, 1902, Father Hynes was appointed as his successor, and he took charge of the parish at Smartville, where he remained for eleven and a half years.  He also visited in an official capacity Dobbin’s Ranch, Camptonville, and most of Yuba County, and a part of Plumas and Butte Counties.  Much of this extra-parish work was in a mountainous country, and journeys had to be made by teams, or horseback, and even on show-shoes, and sometimes on foot.

     On September 26, 1913, Father Hynes was appointed pastor of St. Thomas’ Church at Oroville, and of the Sacred Heart Church at Gridley.  In the Sacred Heart Church, in 1916, he placed five new statues which were blessed by Father Stark, of San Francisco.  St. Thomas’ was originally a mission attended from Marysville, and Father Hynes attended it in 1898 which he was assistant to Father Coleman.  About ten years ago—in 1908—Father Thos. Dermody was appointed pastor.  He resided here.  The church was built forty years or so ago by Bishop Grace, and Father Hynes succeeded Father Dermody.  The Sacred Heart Church was also built by Bishop Grace, and was attended from Chico.  When Father Dermody took charge it became a parish.  The two are now under one pastor, but they have different societies.  Father Hynes celebrates Mass every Sunday at 8:30 A.M. in Oroville and at 11 A.M. the same day in Gridley.

     In 1908, this most estimable and popular priest returned to Europe primarily to see his father and mother, but also to enjoy and profit by an extensive tour of places of great historic interest and to the centers of world culture.  His mother died the following year, and it was fortunate that he made the trip when he did.  On his departure from Ireland he bade good-bye to his father, who is happily still living, and to his brother, Thomas, a leading merchant of Dublin, and his brothers, Patrick and Christopher, who are still at the old home.  Then he continued on through England, Scotland, and across the Continent.  He visited Germany, Holland, Austria, France, Italy, and the Balkan States, intending to come back through Russia, but he was prevented.  He said Mass at the High Altar at St. Peter’s, Rome, and also at St. Cecilia’s Tomb in the Catacombs at Rome.  On both of these occasions Emmet Hayden, supervisor of San Francisco, served Mass for him.  In Rome Father Hynes had the great pleasure of a private audience with Pope Pius X.  At the conclusion of six months he returned to California the day before Thanksgiving, sailing to America on the steamer Lusitania.  Father Hynes is a Knight of Columbus, and justly popular in that order.



Transcribed 4-8-08 Marilyn R. Pankey.

 Source: "History of Butte County, Cal.," by George C. Mansfield, Pages 856-859, Historic Record Co, Los Angeles, CA, 1918.

© 2008  Marilyn R. Pankey.


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