Cronin, Rev James J.
REV. JAMES J. CRONIN
July 23, 1914
- Date of Birth: 15 August 1884
- Place of Birth in Ireland: Bealkilla, Listowel
- County: Kerry
- Date of Ordination: 13 June 1909
- Education: St Michael’s College, Listowel and St Patrick’s College, Carlow
- Place of Ordination: St Patrick’s College – Carlow
- Ordained by: Most Rev. Patrick Foley, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Ireland
- Assistant – St Aloysius Pro-Cathedral, Wichita, KS – 1909 to 1910
- Assistant – St Joseph Parish, Wichita – 1910 to 1911
- Assistant – St Mary’s, Garden City with missions at St Anthony, Lakin and St Raphael, Syracuse and a station at Ulysses – 1911 to 1912
- Pastor – St Joseph Parish, Wichita – 1912 to 1912
- Pastor – St Bridget’s, Scammon with mission at Sacred Heart, Weir City – 1913 to 1914
Three months after their ordination to the priesthood, Rev. James J. Cronin and Rev. William Chawke arrived together from Ireland to serve the Diocese of Wichita.
According to a 1911 Wichita Eagle article, Father James Cronin delivered an address on “The Exiles of Ireland,” during a Knights of Columbus’ Saint Patrick’s Day Celebration where it was estimated that 300 people packed the KC Hall.
Father Cronin while serving at St Bridget’s reported feeling ill and took leave. Following the short leave, he continued to feel ill and was sent to Fort Worth Texas for treatment. According to an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Fr Cronin arrived at the hospital in Fort Worth but unfortunately, the disease (typhoid fever) was too far advanced to save his life.
A St Bridget’s parishioner wrote a tribute to Father Cronin and it was published in the Catholic Advance on 22 August 1924. The article paints a beautiful tribute to how much this young priest was loved by the people of Scammon, not only by Catholics, but the community at large. Here is a partial summary as it was printed in 1914.
“Father Cronin had spent one year with us but never made the slightest complaint regarding the condition of his health. Bravely, unostentatiously and efficiently he performed his arduous duties both here and in Weir City. His ever smiling countenance and cheerful demeanor combined with a robust and vigorous appearance concealed from all the sorrowful fact that he was so soon to become a victim to the grim reaper death.”
“The entire population of Scammon without distinction of creed or nationality, showed their respect for the deceased by meeting the remains at the ‘Frisco depot on Friday afternoon and accompanying them to the church. Here the body remained, watched over day and night by parishioners. The funeral sermon was preached by Fr Maurice Reidy. From close acquaintance and lifelong intimacy with the deceased, he was able to show in a most convincing manner how Fr. Cronin was a priest consumed with zeal for the salvation of souls and with a heart large enough to love all mankind. The Church though large, could not hold one-fourth of the people that attended and so, the Catholic men gave up their places and lined along the streets. Following the Requiem Mass, the sad procession to the graveyard commenced. The people of Scammon closed all stores and suspended business.”
- Date of Death: 23 July 1914
- Place of Death: St Joseph’s Infirmary, Fort Worth, TX
- Age of Death: 29
- Cause of Death: Complication of tuberculosis
- Funeral Celebrant: Fr Anthony Redinger, O.S.B.
- Burial: St Bridget Church Cemetery, Scammon, Kansas