Fr. James E. Thornton, S.J.

We are now officially the San Jose Chinese Catholic Mission! I’m sure there will be many videos and pictures to come, but first I wanted to share a blast from the past. A history lesson of sorts.

Fr. James E. Thornton, S.J., was the first chaplain of the San Jose Chinese Catholic Community. He was born on January 6, 1910 and joined the Jesuits on October 30, 1930 not long after he left his native Ireland. He spent many years as a Missionary in China, mostly in Yangchow (Yang Zhou), and spent multiple years in prison suffering harsh living conditions and psychological torture when the communist party took over. He was expelled to Hong Kong in 1952 and soon after, became a missionary in Taiwan teaching Shakespeare at the National Taiwan University. He became the chaplain for our community in 1984 drawing the analogy of the marriage feast of Cana: “So has God reserved my greatest consolation as a priest to the end — the last nine years.” He passed away on Saturday, October 2, 1993 at O’Connor Hospital in San Jose. He was 83. Many of the original Watermarkers will remember him from their youth. Enjoy this homily recorded during Christmas, 1990 by this faithful, charismatic preacher.

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