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TAUNTON — On May 14, 1933, Bishop James E. Cassidy, apostolic ambassador of the Abatement River diocese, presided over a adherence accumulation at St. Mary’s Abbey in Taunton for the new Abbey James Coyle Aerial Academy for Boys. 

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Cassidy appropriately chose St. Mary’s for the accumulation back the backward abbey had been its pastor back 1896 and he was active in sowing the seeds that led to the school’s planning, construction and opening. 

Last April, the Abatement River area appear the abiding cease of Coyle & Cassidy Aerial Academy and Middle School, catastrophe about a aeon of educating boys and girls in the Catholic tradition. 

Were Coyle animate today, he would be afflicted to apprentice that the academy abode his name had closed. But accustomed his banking accuracy he would accept the budgetary pressures that affected the decision.

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Born in County Longford, Ireland in 1850, James was the oldest adolescent of Daniel Coyle and Mary Riley. 

Daniel and his ancestors emigrated to the United States in 1862, clearing in Apponaug Village, about 10 miles south of Providence, area the ancestors formed their farm. In 1869 at age 19, James larboard Apponaug for St. Joseph’s College in Bardstown, Kentucky to activate alertness for the priesthood. 

After two years, he transferred to Lasalle Academy in Providence followed by two added years of abstraction at Saint Laurent College abreast Montreal. He again entered the Grand Seminary in Montreal and was advancing to the priesthood on Dec. 22, 1877. 

Coyle’s aboriginal appointment was abettor pastor at St. Francis Abbey in North Adams, Massachusetts. This announcement was brief back the afterward year he was reassigned to St. Brigid’s Archdiocese in Millbury. Two years later, he transferred to the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in the anew formed Area of Providence.

In 1885, the Providence area accustomed St. Joseph’s archdiocese and installed Coyle as its founding pastor. With no abbey of their own, Coyle and his congregants acclaimed masses in a adjoining Unitarian abbey until accepting an old abbey architecture and adjoining acreage from the Zion Abbey Corporation. 

After adopting added funds, Coyle began architecture of a rectory, a abbey and a academy committed to the parish’s better benefactor, George Babcock Hazard. Hazard was not Catholic but he accustomed and supported Coyle’s admiration to action a affection apprenticeship to the city’s association behindhand of their faith.

Shortly afore his death, Hazard adapted to Catholicism. During probating of his will, it was abstruse he had ancestral the aggregate of his acreage to St. Joseph’s with Coyle as executor. 

In 1896, abundant to the agitation of parishioners, the abbey called Coyle to be pastor at St. Mary’s Abbey in Taunton.

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When Coyle appear his alteration at Sunday mass, he asked his congregants for no adieu ceremony, no testimonials, no gifts, and alone to be accustomed to agilely blooper abroad aloof as he had come. 

He did ask them to arrect a acceptable cairn over the grave of Hazard for his generosity. The appeal was bound fulfilled.

Upon accession at St. Mary’s, Coyle undertook abounding aggressive projects. 

In 1899, the autogenous of the abbey was refurbished and beautified with the accession of the stained-glass windows that still abide today. He additionally began architecture of the rectory on Washington artery that was completed in 1903. 

Determined to advance the lives of immigrants through education, he and the Sisters of the Holy Union founded St. Mary’s Grammar Academy in 1908 affable added than 500 acceptance that fall. Three years later, an addendum was constructed at the rear of the academy that housed coeducational classes in the new St. Mary’s Aerial School. By 1913, absolute academy acceptance exceeded 900 acceptance authoritative St. Mary’s Square a arresting burghal landmark. 

Coyle’s assignment and acceptability did not go unnoticed. Known for his bookish interests, affection for literature and authoritative acumen, the University of Notre Dame conferred aloft him the honorary amount of doctor of laws (LL.D) at its admission contest in 1910. And in 1916, Pope Benedict XV aloft him to the rank and abode of a abbey and afterwards appointed him a calm abbot — the accomplished anniversary that can be bestowed aloft a priest who is confined beneath a bishop.

In the backward 1920s, St. Mary’s Aerial Academy could no best board added advance and was axis abroad students. Realizing addition academy was needed, Coyle undertook a attack to authorize a aerial academy for boys. In the bosom of the Great Depression, he aloft acceptable funds to appoint an artist and artist to activate advancing blueprints and administering armpit surveys. He additionally assertive his abbey to assurance a arrangement with the Congregation of the Holy Cross of Notre Dame University to accommodate Catholic Brothers specializing in accessory education.

Coyle ministered to the poor, organized and unified congregations and answer education, and he was additionally a loyal and appreciative American. 

Five years afterwards accession in America, he took the adjuration of citizenship on Christmas day, 1867. He fabricated abiding the American banderole stood alongside Papal colors in his pulpits. 

But conceivably best of all, his adeptness to bear active speeches was his hallmark.  Covering the new aerial school’s adherence commemoration in 1933, The Taunton Daily Gazette said this about him:

“Of the abounding ability of the admirable pastor of St. Mary’s none stands out any brighter than his acceptability as an orator.  His English is of the purest commitment and his delivery, that of the adept of his art, fabricated Abbey Coyle one of the best approved accessible speakers in New England.”

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One archetype of his abbey accomplishment was an abode to Taunton’s Ninth Company, Coast Artillery Corps, who were advancing to abandon for France in July 1917. 

The aggregation marched from their arsenal on North Pleasant artery to the axial railroad annex area they would activate their across deployment. The Taunton Daily Gazette appear the avenue was lined with bags of bodies and was the better array anytime captivated to date. After the soldiers formed at the depot, and afterward animadversion by the governor, mayor and added dignitaries, the abbey began his elocution. 

Accounts of the day call his words as one of the archetypal speeches in Taunton history. The railroad alike delayed the train’s abandonment until the abbey accomplished speaking. He concluded with this admonition to the soldiers:

“Boys of the Ninth, we accelerate you alternating as did the Spartan matrons, to acknowledgment with your bouncer aloft them! We abode our honor, that of our burghal and state, advisedly in your hands. Our love, our prayers, our blessings, accompany you. Strike bound and finer and the world’s mightiest nation will acme you with abiding laurels, or blueprint your chant till time is no more.”

Then, the assemblage of accumulated Tauntonians, abounding with tears in their eyes, bid adieu to their sons and husbands.

Plans for the new aerial academy were advanced able-bodied but the monsignor’s bloom was not. Aware his afterlife may be nearing, the priest bound his own obituary in a 1928 letter to his parishioners. Its closing branch independent a final plea:

“And now, my dear, affectionate people, a final, absolute chat to you. When God amendment me to cede an anniversary of my stewardship, lay me abroad amid my own, after bellow of trumpet, or abstract eulogy, and adjure the Great Aerial Priest to accept benevolence on my poor, amiss soul.”

On June 20, 1931, Coyle died affably in St. Mary’s rectory at the age of 80. Upon his passing, the Boston Globe appear his obituary-letter in its entirety. His estate, admired at beneath than $1,000, was ancestral to St. Mary’s School. The burial was a austere apostolic chant accumulation at St. Mary’s with the Right Reverend William A. Hickey, Abbey of Providence, presiding.

Cassidy delivered the acclaim in which he appear architecture of the new academy and its name: Abbey James Coyle Aerial Academy for Boys. 

That fall, Cassidy chose the armpit for the new aerial academy — a lot at 61 Summer St. — where the above Bethlehem Home for Orphans already stood. The cornerstone was laid on Oct. 16, 1932 with a adherence accumulation the afterward May. In the abatement of 1933, the aerial academy accepted its aboriginal class. Brother Marcian Stanislaus Karsky, C.S.C. was its founding principal.

The brothers who accomplished becoming an anniversary bacon of $800 and charge was $75 per year. 

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Coyle’s dream had been fulfilled.

Generations of boys from Taunton and surrounding communities abounding Coyle High.  Yearbooks from 1941-1945 are abounding with tributes to Coyle men who served during WWII. 

In the column war years, demographics were alteration and so did Coyle High. Faced with ascent costs, crumbling enrollment and beneath teaching clergy, Coyle alloyed with Abbey Cassidy Aerial Academy for Girls in 1971. 

The new Coyle & Cassidy Catholic Aerial Academy at Hamilton and Adams streets had alternate to its coeducational roots continuing to accommodate adolescent men and women a affection education.

History is abounding with examples of men and women who acquisition themselves in the bosom of arduous times. Leaders are built-in from these difficult situations. They set aerial goals and accomplish adventurous decisions to accomplish the ends. Coyle was no exception.

His accession in the United States seems agreed as it acceptable him to abbot to the airy and educational needs of immigrants who were accession in droves during the 19th and aboriginal 20th century. Were it not for his constant and adamant adherence to education, abounding a adolescent boy or babe may accept not been afforded the befalling of a Catholic education.  He served his city, his state, his nation and God actual well.

Today, this admired priest rests in an apprehensive and simple artifice in St. Francis Old Cemetery. His grave is apparent with a baby headstone abode this inscription:

Pray for Abbey James Coyle

Died June 20, 1931.  In His 81st Year

R.I.P

Few and simple words for a magnanimous yet apprehensive man.

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Frank Coyle is a retired U.S. Navy administrator and abecedarian genealogist residing in Virginia Beach, Virginia. His ancestor and uncles are amid the abounding men who abounding Coyle Aerial and he is a abroad cousin, several ancestors removed, of James Coyle. Reach him at [email protected]

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