American priest who arrived with MacArthur at end of World War II dies

June 1, 2021 - 3:17 PM
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Maryknoll Fr. James Jay Timothy Thomas Patrick Paul Ferry. (CBCP News)

Maryknoll priest James Jay Timothy Thomas Patrick Paul Ferry, vicar for the religious of the Archdiocese of Manila, died on May 28, 2021, due to pneumonia. He was 95 years old.

Father Ferry first came to the Philippines with the legendary American general, Douglas MacArthur, at the end of the Second World War.

The future priest first served as a corpsman of the US Navy during the Second World War before becoming a surgical nurse.

Every time he was asked about his sea voyage with MacArthur, the priest would say it was “MacArthur who came with me. He boarded my ship.”

He joined the Maryknoll after going back to the United States in 1946. He came back in 1956 when he was already a priest.

“Father Ferry always went out of his way to serve the Lord,” said Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of Manila, during the requiem Mass for the late priest.

“He was a dedicated servant of God,” said Bishop Pabillo.

“Father Jim,” as he was fondly called, spent more than 50 years of his life in the Philippines, teaching in seminaries and doing pastoral work in various communities.

On Feb. 23, 2002, Pope John Paul II conferred on him the “Medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.”

The American priest was born on June 7, 1925, in New York.

His first pastoral assignment in the Philippines was in Paete, Laguna, before he was sent to Mindanao where he spent 30 years in Tagum, Lupon, Baganga, Bato-Bato and Davao.

“Those had been wonderful years of mission work,” the priest would say.

He served as regional superior of the Maryknoll in the Philippines and taught at the Regional Major Seminary in Davao.

In 1989, he came back to Manila, and in 1996, he was named Episcopal Vicar for Religious in the Archdiocese of Manila by the late Cardinal Jaime Sin.

He then taught Sacraments, Liturgy, and Homiletics at San Carlos Seminary, the Holy Apostles Senior Seminary, and Maryhill School of Theology.

“We are fortunate in the Archdiocese of Manila that Father Ferry has been active up to the last moment of his life,” said Bishop Pabillo.

Father Ferry was laid to rest at the tombs of the Religious of the Virgin Mary congregation in Marikina City.