Msgr. James N. Connelly, who served the Diocese of Buffalo for nearly 70 years, died Feb. 24, 2019. He was 97 years old.
Born Aug. 31, 1921, in Buffalo, to James Connelly Sr. and Harriet (Gittere) Connelly, he attended St. Rose of Lima Elementary School and Bennett High School, both in Buffalo. Then went on to Canisius College for two years before earning a bachelor's degree in Philosophy from Niagara University in 1945. He attended Our Lady of the Angels Seminary at Niagara University, before being ordained by Bishop John F. O'Hara on June 4, 1949, at St. Joseph's New Cathedral in Buffalo.
His priestly assignments took him across the diocese. His first assignment was in the missionary apostolate at St. Mary Parish in Little Valley. In 1950, he became assistant pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Eggertsville. He was then named assistant director of the Missionary Apostolate in 1952. In 1956, He was appointed notary for the Tribunal, while also serving as assistant pastor of St. Joseph Church, Buffalo. In 1959, he was appointed secretary to the vicar general, Msgr. Albert Rung. Later that year, he was appointed to serve on the Marriage Counseling Clinic and as vocation director at Holy Angels Academy, Buffalo. In 1960, he became ordinary confessor at St. Francis Hospital. In 1962, be became consulting chaplain at Family Life Clinic. Later that year, he was again appointed secretary to Msgr. Rung. In 1962, he was appointed secretary to the delegate of the vicar-capitular at the Second Vatican Council.
Msgr. Connelly received his first pastorate in 1964, serving at SS. Peter & Paul Parish, Arcade for a decade. He also served as pastor of St. Martin Parish in Buffalo, St. Pius X Parish in Getzville, St. Mary Parish in Medina until his retirement in 1995. After his retirement he continued to celebrate Mass at St. Timothy Parish in Tonawanda.
Msgr. Connelly also served as scout chaplain, CYO Divisional moderator for the Grover Cleveland and Abraham Lincoln divisions. He was a Knight of Columbus with the Medina Council No. 651 and St. Joan of Arc Council.
Msgr. Connelly received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Niagara University in 2015.
He was predeceased by his parents and his sister, Kathryn.
He will lie in state at St. Pius X Church, 1700 North French Road, Getzville, Thursday, Feb. 28, from 3-8 p.m. Bishop Richard J. Malone will celebrate a funeral Mass Friday, March 1, at 10 a.m. at St. Pius X Church, Getzville.