It is with regret that we inform you of the death on the 18th day of December, 2022 in Drimlatafin, Co. Donegal, Ireland, aged 82, of
James Anthony Boyle
Mill Hill Missionary
May he rest in peace
James Anthony, or Jimmy as we knew him in Mill Hill circles, was born on the 7th of January, 1940 in the town of Drimlatafin, Inver, Co. Donegal, Ireland. He was the son of James Boyle, a farmer and Mary Boyle, nee Meehan. Jimmy had two brothers and six sisters. He was baptised and confirmed in his local parish of Frosses. At a young age Jimmy felt called to become a missionary priest with the Mill Hill Missionaries.
He enrolled as a student in St. Joseph’s College at Freshford, Kilkenny from 1957-1961. From 1961 to 1964 Jimmy studied Philosophy and other subjects at University College Dublin while living at Dartry House. Jimmy achieved a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy. In order to study theology and associated subjects, Jimmy travelled to Saint Joseph’s College, Mill Hill, London, England. He took the Perpetual Oath in the Chapel of St. Joseph’s College on the 1st of May, 1967. Just over a year later, on the 30th of June, 1968 Jimmy and Maurice McGill were ordained together as priests at St. Agatha’s Church Clar, Donegal Town at the hands of Bishop Anthony MacFeely of the Diocese of Raphoe.
Jimmy’s first “Missionary” appointment took him back to his Alma Mater at Freshford. He worked as a teacher and was promoted to Assistant Headmaster. In May 1979 he was granted permission to have a sabbatical year at Ann Arbor Michigan, USA. Just over a year later, in 1980, Jimmy was appointed to the Diocese of Buea in Cameroon, West Africa. Just under ten years later, Jimmy was appointed for renewal at the Institute of St. Anselm in Margate, Kent, England, and then invited to join the staff there. Within a year he took up an appointment to the Mill Hill House at Courtfield, near Ross on Wye, Wales. Keen to be more involved in parish pastoral ministry, Jimmy was given permission to work in the Diocese of Portsmouth, England from 1991 to July 2007, when he was appointed to Saint Mary’s Parish in Belfast, which the Mill Hill Missionary Society looked after. Jimmy brought to St. Mary’s Parish his beautiful Gaelic language. In October, 2007 Jimmy had the opportunity of participating in the 65+ Seminar which took place in Rome in October 2007.
In June 2018 on the occasion of Jimmy’s Golden Jubilee, the General Council wrote, “Your willingness to uproot yourself and start all over again (in ministry) was in the true spirit of a true missionary. James, you can justifiably guard memories of a job well done over 50 years of loving service.” As the Mill Hill Missionary Society handed over pastoral responsibility for St. Mary’s Parish, Belfast, Jimmy found his gifts and talents appreciated back in his home parish of Frosses. He died suddenly yesterday afternoon at his family home and will be buried after the Funeral Mass in Frosses Cemetery on Wednesday, 21st December. May Jimmy rest in peace and rise in Glory.