Priest Was ‘Pioneer for Black Catholics in Brooklyn’
Father James E. Goode, O.F.M., a religious order priest who served for several years as pastor of Our Lady of Charity Church, Crown Heights, died Sunday, March 6 at the Mary Manning Walsh Home in Manhattan. He was 82.
Father Goode was born on November 18, 1940, in Roanoke, Virginia, and at the age of three months, was adopted by Robert D. and Lula Bell Young. He served in the United States Air Force, after which he was admitted into the formation program of the O.F.M. province in Troy, New York. He was received into the order on August 15, 1967, at St. Anthony Novitiate in Catskill, New York, and professed first vows on August 16, 1968.
He earned a B.A. degree in philosophy from the University of New York Immaculate Conception Seminary, an M.A. in divinity and an M.A. in theology from the University of New York St. Anthony Theological Seminary, an M.A. in psychology from the College of St. Rose, and a Ph.D. in psychology from Union Graduate School. He was ordained a priest on May 13, 1972, at St. Anthony Church in Manhattan, and professed solemn vows on August 16, 1973.
His first assignment was at Serra High School, McKeesport, Pennsylvania. He later served as pastor of St. Paul of the Shipwreck Church in San Francisco. Father Goode, aka “Father Jim,” served the province as provincial definitor, secretary of missions and evangelization, and FMU promoter.
He is best remembered for his many years of ministry to the African American community.
On May 23, 1973, Father Goode wrote to Bishop Francis Mugavero expressing his desire to work among black Catholics in the Diocese of Brooklyn. Bishop Mugavero met with Father Goode on June 7, 1973, and advised him to have his provincial propose him to minister here. On September 5, 1973, Father Goode was appointed to minister at Our Lady of Charity for the duration of the assignment.
He was known as the “Dean of Black Catholic Preachers” and was recognized internationally as a missionary and evangelist. He preached over 300 black Catholic revivals and convocations, and in 1989 founded the National Day of Prayer for the African American Family. Father Jim’s evangelistic style became so highly regarded that he was featured in an episode of “60 Minutes.” For many years Father Jim was Director of the Solid Ground Franciscan Ministry at St. Clare Friary in Manhattan, and received many awards and proclamations throughout his life. On May 13, 2022, Father Jim would have celebrated his 50-year anniversary as a priest.
“Father Goode was a pioneer for black Catholics here in Brooklyn,” said Father Alonzo Cox, pastor of St. Martin de Porres Parish, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and diocesan coordinator of ministry to African-American Catholics, who first met Father Goode during his time in the Solid Ground Ministry.
“He will be remembered in our community for his spirituality. Each year, he would conduct Lenten retreats, to allow everyone in the parish to spend a day learning about the importance of Lent, and what it means for Catholics,” Father Cox added. “I personally will remember Father Goode as a deeply holy and spiritual black priest.”
A funeral Mass was held at the Shrine Church of St. Anthony in New York on Saturday, March 12. Private interment will be held at a later date at Williams Memorial Park in Roanoke, Virginia.