Beloved La Crescenta priest dead at 83

Monsignor Thomas Doyle, who served as a priest for 59 years, much of that time for St. James the Less Catholic Church in La Crescenta, passed away on Aug. 5. He was 83 years old.

The cause of death was not made public.

During the last seven years, Doyle lived at St. James, where he continued to assist the clergy with masses and confessions.

Danette Erickson, who serves on the Crescenta Valley Town Council and has been a parishioner of the church for decades, said she was grateful to attend one of Doyle’s last masses during a recent week in July.

“He was a quiet saint who walked among us and we will miss him very much,” she said.

Doyle was born in 1930, ordained at age 24 in 1954 and began his ministry at St. James in the 1980s.

Before arriving at St. James, Doyle served a pastor for churches in Wilmington, Winnetka, San Gabriel and Norwalk, according to the Los Angeles Archdiocese. He retired in 1998.

Rev. Ed Dover of St. James the Less had known Doyle for 28 years.

In a letter Dover sent to church members this week, he wrote that Doyle was loved at St. James, and often spoke about keeping up with members of the church.

“He was joyful to see children grow up into fine men and women. He was particularly touched to see you practicing faith, marrying in the church, baptizing your children and bringing them to see their grandparents. And secretly, I think he saw himself in some way as a grandparent too,” he wrote.

Dover said Doyle’s prayers, silence and his “unique smile and a single raised eyebrow” were all part of his ministry.

“His life was leading others closer to Christ, reminding us of our reason to have hope, calling us to trust in the Lord at all times,” he said. “These actions went beyond words to the depths of his heart.”

A viewing and rosary will be held at St. James at 4624 Dunsmore Ave. in La Crescenta from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday followed by a vigil mass celebrated by Bishop Gerald Wilkerson at 7 p.m.

A burial mass celebrated by Archbishop José Gomez will take place at 11 a.m. Monday at St. James. Doyle will be buried in Ireland.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Cardinal Timothy Manning House of Prayer, to the refugee aid organization Concern America or to the Los Angeles Catholic Worker organization, which operates a soup kitchen that feeds the homeless.


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.


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