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Father James Farfaglia Bio

Sicily

Biographical Background 

Fr. James Farfaglia was born on February 20, 1956 to Salvatore and Eleanor Farfaglia, in Stamford, Connecticut.  Father is the oldest of four children.  

When Father was five, Sal and Ellie took their young family to the beautiful New England town of Ridgefield, Connecticut.  Ridgefield is where Father James grew up.  

During the tumultuous years of 1968 – 1974, Father developed a deep passion for politics.  Although he loved serving Mass as an altar boy, he never experienced a desire to become a priest.  His mind was set on becoming a lawyer and he wanted to run for public office.  When he was a freshman in high school, he founded and chaired a chapter of the Young Americans for Freedom. 

God’s divine providence led the high school graduate to a new Catholic College that was just beginning in New Hampshire.  Magdalen College welcomed their first group of students in September, 1974.  During his sophomore year at Magdalen College, Father experienced a profound calling which led him to the Catholic priesthood. 

Upon graduating college in 1978, Father joined the Legionaries of Christ.  His path to the Roman Catholic priesthood brought him to study in Spain and Rome.  Throughout his years with the Legionaries of Christ, he founded and developed seminaries, schools and the Regnum Christi Lay Movement, in Spain, Mexico, Canada and throughout different parts of the United States. 

Once again, divine providence was at work, and God led him to parish life in May, 1999.   He met Bishop Edmond Carmody who was then the Bishop of Tyler, Texas.  Bishop Carmody asked Father to found and build a new parish in Lufkin, Texas.  Saint Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church was built in 6 months and the rectory within 3 months.  

When the project was completed, God’s providence was at work again, and Bishop Carmody was transferred to the Corpus Christi diocese in March, 2000.  Although the founding of Saint Andrew’s was a very rewarding ministry, through much prayer and discernment, Father decided to follow Bishop Carmody to South Texas.  It is there that he founded, together with Msgr. Michael Heras, Saint Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church in the city of Corpus Christi.  

The current bishop of Corpus Christi, Bishop Michael Mulvey, needing a bilingual priest, asked Father to leave Saint Helena’s and become the pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish, also in Corpus Christi.  He has been the pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe as of July 1, 2011. 

Aside from his duties as a parish priest, Father has his own Internet ministry.  His weekly Internet homily, both in the written form and in the audio podcast form, has become very popular.  

Father’s first book, Man to Man: A Real Priest, Speaks to Real Men about Marriage, Sexuality and Family Life became a very popular resource for men who want to live a faithful and joy filled marriage.   He has been the guest on numerous well-known Catholic radio stations around the country where has spoken about his first book.  

With a deep desire to help lay Catholics live a deeper spiritual life, he published a second book.  Get Serious! A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics is a clear and inspirational guide for anyone who wants to live a serious Catholic life.  

Father is actively involved in the pro-life movement.  Thanks to his efforts and the efforts of many dedicated people, the only remaining abortion clinic in the city of Corpus Christi closed on June 6, 2014.  He is a member of the board of directors of Hope House, a Corpus Christi home for unwed mothers, a position that he holds close to his pastoral heart.   Father also assisted Human Life International by serving one term as a member of their board of directors. 

In order to bring about a better quality of life in the neighborhoods around his parish, Father has constructed a large youth recreational facility on his parish grounds.  Igniting a group of  leaders, and with the backing of prominent local charitable Foundations and private donors, Father James is presently immersed in his most ambitious project of all:  West Side Helping Hand.   West Side Helping Hand is an after school holistic youth formation program that empowers at-risk children and young people to overcome the challenges created by poverty and broken homes. 

Aside from his demanding duties as a Catholic priest, Father loves movies, he is an avid Three Stooges fan, enjoys swimming, basketball, soccer, the outdoors and travel.  He listens to jazz and he started, with some friends, the Monday evening Saint Holger’s Cigar Club. 

My Vocation Story

It is only through God’s providence that I became a member of the founding class of a new Catholic College in New Hampshire. After having graduated from High School in 1974, I began an exciting adventure at Magdalen College. Four years at Magdalen changed my life forever.

I had planned to become a lawyer. I was particularly interested in politics and I had a deep desire to run for public office. One evening during my Freshman year, I was reading either Plato’s Republic or Aristotle’s Politics and I was amazed that these authors dealt with a similar situation that confronted our culture; i.e. moral decay and corruption. Both of these great thinkers of the past said that there is no political solution for the collapse of society.

The problem was spiritual and man’s heart needed to turn to God. I then asked myself a question: Who best can reach man’s heart? The answer, I said to myself, is a priest. That one intellectual discovery shocked me and placed me on a journey. My spiritual life began to develop for the first time since the innocence of Catholic grade school. Four years of public high school during the 1970′s were no help to a relationship with Jesus Christ.

At college, I was exposed to the treasures of our Catholic Faith, four very committed laymen who began the college, diocesan and religious priests who loved their priesthood, and a small group of classmates who became the best friends of my life.

One evening in the early part of my sophomore year, after the evening Rosary, I felt a profound urge to stay in the chapel and pray. Everyone left to go and study or socialize, and I was left alone with Jesus. There were no visions, no voices, but the presence of Jesus was so intimate and awesome. I looked at the Tabernacle and I said, I know that you want something big from me. I don’t know what it is. Just tell me and I will do it.

Thirty minutes later I returned to my room. It just so happened that the next day was a Wednesday. A diocesan priest came on campus on Wednesdays and Sundays for Mass. I was the altar server that morning. At the moment of the consecration when Father elevated the Host, I could feel this tremendous urge that said, you have to do what he is doing.

The outpouring of grace was so powerful that it almost caused me to lose my balance as I was kneeling on the side of the altar. When I left the chapel, there was no doubt in my mind that God wanted me to be a priest.

Initially there was fear. Most especially, the fear of more studies. Studies did not come easy to me. It was always a lot of work.

Shortly after these experiences, during that same school year, the freshmen were assigned to give a talk on a saint of their choice for All Saints Day. During the special activity where each freshman got up and gave their little talk, one girl gave a short talk on the life of St. John Vianney.

I had never heard of the Curé of Ars. She spoke about his difficulty with studies and how he persevered to become a great priest and a great saint. When she finished, I said to myself: If he can do it, so can I. My fears were gone.

After graduating college, I went to the seminary. They were years filled with profound happiness and excitement. I was ordained on December 24, 1987, in Rome.