Msgr. Eugene James Boyle recalled as priest with passion for social justice
June 7th, 2016
By Diocese of San Jose
Msgr. Eugene Boyle died in Palo Alto on May 24, less than a month before his 70th anniversary of ordination as a priest.
The son of George Boyle and Mary Ellen Clark Boyle, Eugene Boyle was born in San Francisco. He attended St. John’s School in San Francisco, St. Joseph’s College Seminary in Mountain View and St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, and was ordained by Archbishop John J. Mitty on June 15, 1946.
After ordination, Father Boyle served in parishes in San Francisco and Livermore, eventually becoming pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in San Francisco. From 1956 until 1960, he was a member of the archdiocesan Mission Band, a group of priests that ministered to migrant workers in farm fields around the Bay Area. He later served as director of Vallombrosa Retreat House in Menlo Park and worked for the National Federation of Priests’ Councils and the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. He was director of Stanford Newman Center and St. Ann Chapel in Palo Alto from 1976 until 1985.
Upon the creation of the Diocese of San Jose in 1981, Father Boyle became a priest of the new diocese.
In 1985, Bishop Pierre DuMaine named him Episcopal Vicar for Interreligious and Public Affairs. After retiring in 1990, Father Boyle willingly came out of retirement to serve as pastor of St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish in Morgan Hill from 1994 until 1996, retiring again as he was about to turn 75.
In 2000, Pope John Paul II named Father Boyle as a Prelate of Honor with the honorary title of monsignor.
Throughout his long ministry, Msgr. Boyle had a passion for work in social justice, collaborating with Cesar Chavez in his groundbreaking efforts with the United Farm Workers. He also served for many years on San Jose’s diocesan Human Concerns Commission. He had an equal commitment to ecumenism and interreligious matters, always seeking common ground and understanding among diverse groups of individuals.
Msgr. Boyle is predeceased by his sister, Dot Mazza, and his brother, George Boyle. He is survived by his sister, Betty Tackett, as well as nieces and nephews.
A funeral Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Palo Alto, May 31.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Diocese of San Jose for the benefit of The Catholic Campaign for Human Development’s local grants, which assist economic and community development projects.
From June 9, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.