Rev Fr Xavier Butler

Rev Fr Xavier Butler

South Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 16 Dec 1997 (aged 78)
Graymoor, Putnam County, New York, USA
Burial Garrison, Putnam County, New York, USA
Plot Tier 2 Row 3 Grave15
Memorial ID 161355619 · View Source
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(John Vincent Butler)

John Vincent Butler was born in South Boston,
Massachusetts on Dec. 12, 1919 to Thomas Butler and Mary
Tobin Butler who came from Ireland to the United States.
John was one of five siblings, three brothers and one sister.
John attended St. Augustine's Elementary School and English
High School in South Boston prior to entering the Franciscan
Friars of the Atonement at Graymoor in September 1934.
John entered the novitiate at Graymoor on August 14, 1938
and received the name of Xavier. He made his first profession
of vows on August 15, 1939 and final profession on August
15, 1942. John claimed that his first contact with Graymoor
was through some acquaintances. He also remembered a
salesman coming to their home and selling his mother the
Lamp, the magazine that our Founder Fr. Paul began.

Upon completion of the novitiate Xavier entered Catholic University of America in
Washington, D.C. from where he graduated with a Bachelor's degree in theology and later
obtained a Master's degree in philosophy. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1947 at the
Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. by John D. McNamara, DD,
Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, D.C. Seven other friars were ordained with Fr. Xavier, they
were Norman Prevost, Edward Hanahoe, Germanus Tomaino, Leo Foley, Hyacinth Coirin,
Terence Cummings and Edwin Scullin.

Immediately after ordination Fr. Xavier was assigned to Mission Band Studies in
Washington, D.C. followed by a teaching assignment at Montour Falls, N.Y.; Vocation
Office, Graymoor; Pastor at Athalmer, B.C.; Mission Band; Retreat Director, Gardiner Mines,
N.S.; Pastor, High Point, N.C.; Pastor, Richmond, B.C.; Associate Pastor, Cassopolis,
Michigan; Director, Chapel of Our Savior, Brockton, Ma; Pastor, Hereford, Texas; Pastor,
Lumberton, N. C. ; Mission Coordinator, Graymoor,

Blessed with a pleasing, outgoing personality and an attractive countenance, Fr.
Xavier was often referred to in a joking manner as "Fr. Gregory Peck by parishioners where
he ministered. During the last months of his illness Fr. Xavier lived in the infirmary at
Graymoor where he bore his illness with faith and resignation. Only hours before his death in
talking to one of the friars he said: " During life there are so many distractions and events to
keep our minds occupied, right now at the end there is just Jesus and me . Xavier spent 63 of
his 78 years with the Friars of the Atonement. Fr. Bill Murphy was celebrant and homilist at
the mass of the Resurrection on Dec. 18 in the Little Flower Chapel with burial in the Friars'
Cemetery at Graymoor.



FATHER XAVIER BUTLER, SA - St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Steveston, BC., Canada.

INTERVIEWED: April 15, 1975.

Father Xavier Butler, SA., came to the Parish in September, 1968, when the Parish numbered about 350 families. Presently, it composes about 700 families. Parish boundaries were established in 1966 to extend two miles from the ocean to No. 2 Road, stretching north and south of the Island.
The present Rectory is located at 1181 - 2nd Avenue, Steveston, while the church is 471 Williams Rd., Richmond, B.C.

Origin of the Parish:

The Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement came to Vancouver to the church on Cordova Street in the 1920's. They travelled out to Steveston to give Mass in 1929 to the large community of Japanese fishermen in the area, hQlding Mass in homes in the area.
1932 - Built a church on Second Avenue, Steveston.
It is a wood bUilding, two stories high. Upper floor was used as a church and the lower floor as a Convent for the Sisters its front part as a classroom for the kindergarten and nursery during the day, and a Study Club during the evening. The Sisters have left since 1968.


As this was the first Catholic Church on the Island, the congregation expanded from Japanese to include many other nationalities.


1932 - 1934 Father Benedict Quigley, SA., 1934 - 1938 Father Dominic Kenny, SA., 1938 - 1940 Father Alphonsus Hoban, SA., 1940 - 1942 Father Robert O'Farrell, SA., 1942 - 1945 Father Aloysius Craven., 1945 - 1949 Father Dominic Kenny, SA., returned 1949 - 1958 Father Bernard Foley, SA., 1958 - 1968 Father Agnelus Pickelle, SA., 1968 - Father Xavier Butler, SA.

New Church:

Construction started 1966. Dedication service was held April 30, 1967. The Archbishop of Vancouver, the Most Reverend Martin Johnson, officiated at the service.
Approximately 14 acres purchased - was a farm - now holding 8.2 acres by a Parish group. The building committee recommended re-locating more centrally and building a larger church for the growing Parish.
Architect Mr. Frank Roy.
Contractor M & C Contractors.
Sub-Contractors Art work, Stations of the Cross & Crucifix, etc., by a local sculptor, Mr. Imredy.
The new church is linked to the old by the Altar Stone which was moved over and which had been consecrated in 1929.

There is a Parish Council of 12 members - 6 men and 4 women with priests; meet to discuss needs of parishioners.
Father Butler has an associate, Father David Fitzgerald, SA., and Brother Kieran Cullen, SA., who attends to the youth work - a very viable group started in 1958 - 1959 and taking the name of the Antonians.
New Building
Very large building. Entrance right off Williams. Seats about 750. Parking lot at side - where they hope to erect a Rectory and Parish Hall. Church built on concrete slab with radiant heating in the floor. Has sacristy and toilet rooms and nursery.

The Order:

Founded by an Anglican Minister in 1898, interested in Union. Established this north of New York City. In 1904 Father Paul, the founder, edited a magazine called 'The Lamp', and in 1908 established a week of Prayer for Christian Unity and found a great acceptance between Catholics and non-Catholics. He entered the Catholic Church in 1909. There are many missions throughout the world.
All the properties of the churches are in the title of the Archbishop of Vancouver, but the funds for building this church were raised within the Parish.
Approximately $200,000., with furnishings over that amount.
Special Events.

Father Xavier Butler has celebrated his 25th Anniversary in the Priesthood in 1972. One big event will be the burning of
the mortgage.

Holy Year:

As 1975 is declared a Holy Year in the Catholic Church, this year's theme is one of Reconciliation between God & Man. There is an extra incentive to perform this. There have been various liturgical celebrations and a Parish Mission. This year too, the Conferral of Confirmation will be conferred by the Archbishop of Vancouver. There will be some special liturgical observances in the Fall.

Plans for the Future:

Embodied in building a Rectory at the site of the new church.
Encouraged to donate generously and of one hour's salary per week.
Disposal of the Old Church
Buildings are not of much commercial value, but the land will be sold.


Sponsored by Ancestry


Planning a visit to Friars Cemetery at Graymoor?



  • Created by: Jimmy MacDonald
  • Added: 19 Apr 2016
  • Find A Grave Memorial 161355619
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rev Fr Xavier Butler (12 Dec 1919–16 Dec 1997), Find A Grave Memorial no. 161355619, citing Friars Cemetery at Graymoor, Garrison, Putnam County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Jimmy MacDonald (contributor 46808750) .