A Priest Praised For ‘His Courage, His Patience, His Love of God’

Msgr. Paul W. Jervis, a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn, was born on Dec. 1, 1953, in Guyana, was ordained to the priesthood on May 21, 1983, and died Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023, at age 69.

Msgr. Jervis served the Diocese of Brooklyn as pastor of the parishes of St. Francis of Assisi-St. Blaise (Prospect Lefferts Gardens), St. Martin de Porres (Holy Rosary, Our Lady of Victory, and St. Peter Claver in Bedford-Stuyvesant), and St. Paul the Apostle (Corona). He also served as administrator of the parishes of St. Catherine of Genoa (East Flatbush), and Holy Rosary, Our Lady of Victory, and St. Peter Claver; and as parochial vicar for the parishes of St. Clare (Rosedale), St. Fortunata (East New York), and St. Peter Claver. On Sept. 4, 2009, Msgr. Jervis was named Prelate of Honor to His Holiness. He was a member of the Priests’ Purgatorial Society.

On May 20, 2023, Msgr. Jervis was honored by the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Vicariate of Black Catholic Concerns on his 40th anniversary in the priesthood. Bishop Robert Brennan took the occasion to say he was “inspired by [Msgr. Jervis’] courage, his patience, his love of God.”

“Msgr. Paul Jervis saw the dignity of every human being and worked tirelessly to open the eyes of all people to love one another. Much like Msgr. Bernard Quinn, Msgr. Jervis devoted his life to fostering peace in the face of hatred. He made a lasting impression on those he met, especially within our African American and Guyanese Catholic communities, and with his brother priests as well. His work will continue in the lives of those he inspired,” Bishop Brennan said this week.

Msgr. Jervis was the Diocesan Postulator of the Cause of the Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God, Bernard John Quinn.

Widely considered a pillar for the Black Catholic community in the diocese, Msgr. Jervis was equally appreciated as the vice-postulator of the cause for sainthood for Msgr. Bernard Quinn, which he championed for 25 years. Msgr. Quinn was revered for his tireless outreach and ministry to the African American community, including the founding of St. Peter Claver, the first documented African American parish in the Diocese of Brooklyn.

“Msgr. Jervis was a deeply holy priest, who loved his people, and had a deep love and devotion for Msgr. Quinn,” said Father Alonzo Cox, coordinator for the Vicariate of Black Catholic Concerns. “I have no doubt he’ll be supporting us from Heaven as we continue our quest for the canonization of Msgr. Quinn.”

In a recent interview with Currents News, Msgr. Jervis recalled that “Father Quinn (as he was called in his early years) had a great love of the Lord, and because of his love of the Lord, he loved African American people. Once I read his own words, in which he said he was willing to shed the last drop of his life’s blood for the least of his brethren, I was just totally astounded, and I said ‘Oh my God. This guy should be a saint.’ ”

In September of 2009, Pope Benedict XVI, conferred the honor of Chaplain to His Holiness to Msgr. Jervis.

A wake and a vigil Mass for Msgr. Jervis will be celebrated on Monday, Sept. 11, at St. Francis of Assisi-St. Blaise Church, a second wake service is scheduled Tuesday, Sept. 12.

A funeral Mass for Msgr. Jervis will be celebrated by Bishop Robert Brennan at St. Francis of Assisi-St. Blaise Church Tuesday, Sept. 12. Burial will follow at St. John Cemetery in Middle Village.