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Funeral Arrangements Announced for Father J. Paul Byron

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The Funeral Mass for Father J. Paul Byron, 89, will be celebrated Saturday, March 19, 2011, at St. Raphael Catholic Church in Raleigh at 10:00 a.m. Father Byron died Tuesday, March 15, at Moore County Regional Hospital following a brief illness. The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge will be Principal Celebrant.  Father Donald F. Staib, Pastor of St. Mary Magdalene parish in Apex will be the Homilist.

Father Byron served in the Diocese of Raleigh for 64 years, beginning his priestly ministry in June 1946, immediately following his ordination to the Priesthood on June 15, 1946 in the Diocese of Albany. His first assignment, given by the Most Reverend Vincent S. Waters, Bishop of Raleigh, was to Whiteville and the Missionary Apostolate, a ministry designed to bring the Catholic faith to North Carolinians in rural areas of the state.

In 1947, Father Byron was appointed Assistant Pastor of Saint John the Evangelist parish in Waynesville, the first of 12 churches at which he would serve until his retirement in July 1996, when he was serving as Pastor of Saint Raphael the Archangel parish in Raleigh. For many years following his retirement, Father Byron remained active in priestly ministry, continuing to serve the faithful of the Diocese, celebrating weekend Mass at Holy Family parish in Hillsborough, St. Matthew parish in Durham and later at Saint Bernadette parish in Butner, where he served as Priestly Minister from 2000-2009.

At the age of seven, Father Byron told his family that he was going to be a priest. In an interview with NC Catholics in 2007, he said he never doubted his calling for one day. He said he enjoyed being a priest, bringing the sacraments and the Word of God to the people. He added, as he grew older, his ministry grew beyond the Church walls, but first and foremost was his love of being a Pastor to the faithful.

Father Byron was instrumental in several major initiatives and programs in the Diocese of Raleigh, both during the time the Diocese encompassed the entire state and following the creation of the Diocese of Charlotte. Notably, in 1956, he directed the construction of St. Egbert School in Morehead City; in the late 1950s, he built and was the first Pastor of St. Gabriel Church in Charlotte; in 1962, with Bishop Waters’ approval, he began what is now the Bishop’s Annual Appeal; and in the late 1960s, introduced the Cursillo Movement into the Diocese of Raleigh.

The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge asks all of the faithful to join him in praying for Father Byron, for the eternal repose of his soul and that Our Lord may grant his family, friends and all who mourn his death the grace, strength and consolation they need, especially during this difficult time.

Friday, March 18, 2011
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
St. Raphael the Archangel Parish
5801 Falls of the Neuse Road
Raleigh, NC 27609

Vigil for the Deceased
Friday, March 18, 2011
7:00 pm
St. Raphael the Archangel Parish
5801 Falls of the Neuse Road
Raleigh, NC  27609

Reverend Thomas R. Davis, Administrator,
Good Shepherd Parish, Hope Mills, Presider and Homilist 

Funeral Mass
Saturday, March 19, 2011
10:00 am
St. Raphael the Archangel Parish
5801 Falls of the Neuse Road
Raleigh, NC  27609

Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge,
Bishop of Raleigh, Principal Celebrant

Reverend Donald Staib, Pastor,
Saint Mary Magdalene Parish, Apex, Homilist

Saturday, March 19, 2011
Following the Funeral Mass
St. Matthew Parish Cemetery
1001 Mason Road
Durham, NC  27712

Mass cards and cards of condolence for the family may be sent in care of Father Davis at the following address:

Mrs. Susan B. Towne
201 Scotch Bush Road
Burnt Hills, NY  12027