At age 17, Father James Queen had already been accepted to Manhattan College in New York when he began thinking about the priesthood. After returning home from a senior retreat, he met with his pastor who encouraged him to attend seminary to discern his calling.
“It was the best decision I made,” said Father Queen who celebrates 50 years of priesthood this year. He was ordained on May 21, 1966 after studying at St. Andrew’s Preparatory Seminary and Saint Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester, New York.
He spent the next 26 years teaching high school religion classes and serving in various parishes throughout the Diocese of Syracuse. He also served on the Diocesan Pastoral Council assisting the bishop in the pastoral care of the diocese.
“As a council member, I was an advocate for our clergy and often a mentor as they transitioned to new assignments,” explained Father Queen.
In Dec. 2003, Father Queen came to the Diocese of Orlando where, although officially retired, he continues to serve at St. Brendan Parish in Ormond Beach.
“Like many northern natives, I retired to Florida to enjoy the sun, sand and surf. It feels like home, except much warmer,” said Father Queen who has one brother and two sisters who still live in New York.
“Some of my best moments were teaching religion to high school students. They kept me young and we had a lot of fun talking about our faith,” remembered Father Queen. He continues to serve high school students by assisting at Penance services at Fr. Lopez Catholic High School in Daytona Beach.
When he’s not celebrating Mass or the Sacrament of Penance at St. Brendan Parish, Father Queen enjoys visiting the Disney attractions and attending various shows at the Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach. He is also an avid sports fan whose favorite teams include the Los Angeles Dodgers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Cleveland Browns.