Spenard, OSA

In Memory of Father James Spenard, OSA




Spenard, OSA

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Father James Spenard, OSA

Father James T. Spenard, OSA, 74 of the National Shrine of St. Rita’s Church and former, longtime Pastor of St. Augustine’s Church in Lansingburgh, NY passed to the Lord on Thursday Oct. 8, 2020 in Philadelphia. He was born in Waterford, NY on Oct. 4, 1946 and was the beloved son of the late John (Ben) and Alma Baillargeon Spenard. Fr. Jim attended St. Mary’s School in Waterford for grades 1 – 8. During this time he was an active member of scouting in the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and, eventually, the Explorer Scouts. He achieved the highest honor in the Boy Scouts of America, the Eagle Scout award. While in high school at LaSalle in Troy, Fr. Jim was continually active. He was on the rifle team, the manager of many sports, and Editor of his high school yearbook. He attended “mixers” (dances) at both LaSalle and Catholic Central High School. He dated, went to proms, and had the normal love and fear of girls that boys do at that age. During his high school years, he and his Explorer Troop planned and accomplished a weeklong canoe trip, rounding Lake George. It was an adventure that he and his fellow scouts would never forget. Many memories were made during these times. Fr. Jim was President of his Explorer troop at the time. At LaSalle in those days, all seniors participated in a multi-day retreat. At this prayerful event, at one point, all participants were scheduled to spend a half hour face to face with the Blessed Sacrament in an area where there was one kneeler and the Blessed Sacrament on a small alter directly in front of the student. It was during his time, while praying to the Blessed Sacrament, that Fr. Jim decided to offer his life to the service of God and become a priest. As a priest, Fr. Jim never forgot his roots. He would make it back to the Waterford area whenever he could. He would enjoy visits with his mother, and other relatives (especially his many cousins), and a good friend for a boat ride, some fine wine, and maybe even a Manhattan. Eventually Fr. Spenard was assigned to St. Augustine’s Church in Troy. The parish school was having difficulties with declining enrollment. There came a time when his friend was retiring from teaching in the public school and Fr. Spenard wondered whether he would be interested in becoming the Principal. With school board approval and the blessings of the Albany Diocese, this did happen. With Fr.Jim and his new principal and the support of a magnificent staff, the enrollment eventually doubled. He entered Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, New York on September 9, 1964, and professed simple vows on September 10, 1965. Following the novitiate, he attended Villanova University during which time he professed solemn vows on September 14, 1968. He graduated from Villanova in 1969 with a B.A. in Philosophy. He did his theological studies at the Washington Theological Coalition from 1969 to 1972, from which he received an M.A. in Theology. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 17, 1972 at St. Mary’s Church, Waterford, by Bishop Edward J. Maginn. His assignments included, St. Rita’s Shrine Church, Philadelphia, PA, St. Augustine’s Church Lansingburgh, NY, St. James Church Carthage, NY and Immaculate Conception in Hoosick Falls, NY. Father enjoyed the water, whether sailing his sunfish, traveling the intercostal waters and vacationing on the St. Lawrence. We thank the Lord for Fr. Jim’s deep faith, love of the Lord and his holy and generous priesthood. Fr. Jim will be remembered for his devotion to the people of St. Augustine’s Parish and his selfless dedication to serving those in his ministry. Fr. Spenard was devastated when he was moved from St. Augustine Church to the St. Rita’s Shrine in Philadelphia. He had really hoped and prayed that he would “age out” at St. Augustine’s, however this was not to be. He never complained about his Philadelphia assignment, but that is because of the man and priest he was. He is the beloved brother of John “Jack” Spenard; devoted uncle of Andre (Allison) Spenard and Tony (Patti) Spenard; great uncle of Olivia and Claire Spenard; also survived by several cousins, friends and his Augustinian family. Reception of Fr. Jim’s body will be at 3:00 pm on Friday Oct. 16, 2020 at St. Augustine’s Church, 25-115th. Street Troy, NY 12182 Visitation will be from 3:00 – 7:00 pm Friday in the Church. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 7:00 pm. Attendance at funeral mass requires pre-registration, via St. Augustine’s Parish website or by calling the parish office, starting on Tuesday, October 13, 2020. In compliance with pandemic regulations, masks will be required and social distancing practiced for the viewing and funeral. To view the livestream of the Funeral Mass of Christian Burial on Friday at 7:00 p.m., your options are as follows; https://tinyurl.com/y6ommxeg, or search on YouTube: St. Augustine's Parish Troy, NY or search on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/staugchurchtroy or on the front page of the Parish website at https://staugchurchtroy.com/ Interment will be private on Saturday morning in St. John’s Cemetery, Troy, NY. Memorial contributions may be made in memory of Father Jim to St. Augustine's Church Heritage Fund, 28-115th Street, Troy, NY 12182. Please Share A Memory of Add Condolences by using the tabs on this website.