The Immaculate Conception Church community is mourning the loss of its leader Rev. Msgr. Raymond Byrne, who died Tuesday after serving as the Irvington church’s pastor for 12 years.
“Fr. Byrne you will always be in our hearts!” reads the church’s website, who announced the 79-year-old pastor’s death with great sadness.
Byrne’s wake will be held at the church, 16 N. Broadway, on Thursday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday from noon to 7 p.m. The Mass of the High Priest will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. His funeral will be held on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 10 a.m.
"Father Byrne’s impact on the Irvington community went far beyond the parishioners of Immaculate Conception Church," said Irvington Mayor Brian Smith, in his Jan. 10 newsletter. "His presence at village events and his two decades as a Chaplin for the Irvington Fire Department are the most high-profile of his contributions outside of his beloved church. But, he was also a leader among all the clergy in our village, across all denominations and faiths."
According to Byrne’s obituary in The Journal News, he was born in the Bronx to the late John Patrick and Mary Josephine Plunkett Byrne. He attended Our Lady of the Assumption, Cardinal Hayes High School and Cathedral College.
He entered the priesthood in his mid-20s and studied Spanish at the Catholic University in Ponce Puerto Rico. He served at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in the Bronx and St Paul’s in Manhattan before coming to Irvington in 1990. He was given the rank of monsignor in 2006.
His two sisters predecease Byrne. He is survied by his four other sisters, five brothers and numerous nieces, nephews friends and church members, the obituary in The Journal News says.
"Father Byrne was not afraid to speak his mind, but his words came from the heart and with the wisdom of a lifetime of service," said Smith. "Everyone may not have agreed with Father Byrne but we all listened with great reverence and respect to what he had to say. I will never be able to hear God Bless America without thinking of Father Byrne and his effect on our community."