SCRANTON -- At the age of 99 and only a few months short of his 75th ordination anniversary, The Diocese of Scranton's oldest priest, Monsignor James Clarke passed away, on Good Friday.
Bishop Emeritus James Timlin said he knew Monsignor since 1939.
"He was a wonderful priest, and as I say, a very bright person, a wonderful conversationalist and wonderful preacher because he has such an intellectual background," said Bishop Timlin.
His last assignment as pastor was at St. Ignatius in Kingston.
The church's office manager Mary Lewis said Monsignor Clarke hired her in 1976. She visited with him just days before he passed.
"He held my hand and he said what happy days at St. Ignatius, and that meant so much to me," said Lewis.
It`s been about a quarter century since Monsignor Clarke was pastor at St. Ignatius in Kingston, but parishioners said they`ll never forget how much he cared about their church.
"He cared about every parishioner and the whole concept of St. Ignatius, he was very devoted," said Rosemary Krispin of Shavertown.
Monsignor Clarke also taught religion and philosophy at College Misericordia, and loved to debate. Parishioners said his sermons often reflected his passion for theology.
"I do remember his homilies were basically about the Babylonian captivity," said Patricia Pisaneschi of Edwardsville.
Monsignor Clarke also was assigned to several other churches in the diocese before retiring here at the Villa Saint Joseph.
"He was a true priest, in the true sense of the word," said Krispin.
Monsignor James Clark's viewing will be held at Villa Saint Joseph in Dunmore on Tuesday, and a Vigil Mass will be celebrated in their Chapel that evening.
The funeral is scheduled for Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.