Monsignor James A. McCloskey touched the hearts and souls of thousands in the Syracuse Area through his kindness, generosity, spiritual inspiration and abundant good humor. Born in Syracuse on April 11, 1921, he passed away peacefully at St Francis House on November 25, 2017. Msgr. McCloskey graduated from Cathedral Academy in 1939, and studied at St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester and at Theological College in Washington DC. He was interested in the priesthood from an early age. He would say, “When I was maybe 7 or 8, I wanted to be pope, but then I lowered my expectations.” In 2017, Msgr. McCloskey celebrated 70 years as a priest in the Diocese of Syracuse, where he guided parishes of Our Lady of Pompeii, St Peter’s, St. Daniel in Lyncourt, St Therese, Christ the King in Liverpool, Holy Family in Fairmount, and St. Brigit and St. Joseph. Since his retirement in 1995, he resided at Immaculate Conception Parish in Fayetteville, where he chose to, “Spend my final years cramming for the final exam before a fair and merciful judge.” For 22 years, he was beloved by all at IC, especially the children of the school and the parish. He made a special point of visiting the school frequently and greeting parishioners after mass. In fact, the street to IC Church is named for him and a plaque dedicated to him stands at the entrance, to honor him on his 90th birthday. During his long career, Msgr. McCloskey held many roles in the Diocese, including Director of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, theology instructor, member of the Priests’ Senate, Spiritual Director for the Legion of Mary, Diocesan Regional Cabinet, and the Bishop’s Board of Consultors as well as board member on several non-profit organizations. “Fr. Jim” is survived by 17 nieces. nephews, and spouses, 51 great-grand nieces, nephews and spouses, and 36 great-grand nieces and nephews, all touched since childhood by his love and sense of fun. He was a man of fine words, who always provided the right thoughtful and comforting words at difficult times, and the right joke for the moment – even his special moments at the end of mass. Also a man of humility, when thanked for his words of wisdom, he would say, “Well, some think I’m wise. I’ve got ‘em fooled.” Fr, Jim was an avid sportsman enjoying his golf, basketball and especially tennis. He was also an accomplished piano player and enjoyed singing as he played.
Calling hours will be from 4 until 7 on Thursday, November 30th at Immaculate Conception Church, Fayetteville NY. Following calling hours, at 7PM, a “Prayer Vigil for a Priest” will be held. The community is invited to attend. A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Friday December 1st at 10:30AM at Immaculate Conception Church. Burial, which will be private, will be at St Mary’s Cemetery, Dewitt.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Msgr. James A. McCloskey Scholarship Fund for Immaculate Conception, School, 400 Salt Springs Street, Fayetteville, NY13066 or by clicking on the link for the Monsignor James A. McCloskey Scholarship Fund for Immaculate Conception School.