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† Fr. John Francis (Roy) YURCO sscc (USA-East)

   Fr. John Francis (Roy) Yurco, ss.cc., an ordained member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (SSCC) in Fairhaven, Massachusetts passed away at Our Lady’s Haven in Fairhaven on Sunday, September 19th after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Fr. Roy, who would have been 77 years old on October 10, was born in New York City to Ludwig and Della (Risavy) Yurco, who had immigrated to the United States from Czechoslovakia in the early 1930s. The middle child of three sons, Fr. Roy was predeceased by his two brothers and is survived by his sister-in-law Diane of Chicago.

   Having learned about the life of Saint Damien of Molokai in the vocation club at school at the age of 15, Fr. Roy felt a connection to the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts. After visiting the Queen of Peace Seminary in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, he entered the novitiate in Fairhaven in 1956 and was ordained in Jaffrey on June 21, 1962.

   During his almost 50 years as a priest, Fr. Roy served his Church and his Congregation in many capacities. As a young priest, his first assignment was as a teacher in Glendora, California. From 1964 to 1965 he assisted at both St. Joseph’s in Fairhaven and Our Lady of the Assumption in New Bedford before being assigned for a short time to the National Enthronement Office in Washington, DC. Upon his return to the area he was appointed procurator at the “Monastery,” in Jaffrey before accepting a position at St. James Church and New England Medical Center in Boston where he served for ten years. In later years, Fr. Roy was an associate at St. Anthony in Mattapoisett and pastor of St. Boniface in New Bedford. He also was the spiritual director for the Damien Council of the Knights of Columbus and later became Grand Knight, one of the only priests to ever hold that office. Fr. Roy’s final assignment was as chaplain at Our Lady’s Haven, where he fondly remembered removing the pews around the altar to make room for the residents in wheelchairs and where eventually he became a beloved resident.

   A Funeral Mass will be celebrated for Fr. Roy at St. Joseph’s Church in Fairhaven, Massachusetts on Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 10:00 AM followed by burial in the Sacred Hearts Community Cemetery. Visiting hours will take place at Damien Residence in Fairhaven on Wednesday, September 22 from 4:00 to 8:00 pm.