Fr James E. Coyle of Birmingham, Alabama

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 1 (Jan/Feb 2005), Letters, Letters, Volume 13


—Thank you for publishing the article by David Franklin about Eamon de Valera’s 1920 visit to Birmingham, Alabama, in the last issue (Winter 2004). He makes reference to the murder of Father James Edwin Coyle. A native of Drum, Athlone, Co. Roscommon, Father Coyle spent his priestly life in Alabama from 1896 to 1921. He served as pastor of St Paul’s church in Birmingham for almost seventeen years.
He was assassinated on 11 August 1921, by the father of a young woman whose marriage to a dark-skinned Puerto Rican Father Coyle had witnessed less than two hours before he was mortally wounded. The murder took place against the background of intense public anti-Catholic bigotry in Birmingham. Father Coyle was courageous in his defence of the Catholic faith and what Catholics believe.
As his courage and faithfulness are becoming better known, more people are being inspired by the life he lived. With the approval of our bishop, David E. Foley, we are establishing the Father James Edwin Coyle Society. The Society will promote the life and legacy of Father Coyle to foster understanding, reconciliation and peace among all of God’s people. The Society will endeavour to: deepen one’s spirituality through knowledge of Father Coyle’s courage and service to people of all faiths and walks of life; nurture vocations to religious and lay ministries; encourage research and publications about Father Coyle to make his life better known throughout the world; and seek funding to further this work.

Father James Edwin Coyle Society
The Cathedral of St Paul
2120 Third Avenue North
Birmingham, AL. USA


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