It is with a heavy heart that we share that Father James Hoover passed away today, April 5, 2022, in Concordia, Kansas.
Vigil Service—Thursday April 7, 7:00 pm @ Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Concordia
Mass of Christian Burial—Friday April 8, 11:00 am @ St. Francis Xavier, Junction City with burial to follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Junction City.
There will be a light luncheon to follow at the Knights of Columbus Hall.
Father James (Jim) Hoover was born May 13, 1934, in Junction City to Laurence and Josephine (Casper) Hoover. He attended school at St. Francis Xavier grade school and high school, completing high school at St. Louis Preparatory Seminary in St. Louis. (B.A. from Marymount College, Salina, 1964) He attended seminary at Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis.
He was ordained April 2, 1960, by Bishop Frederick Freking at St. Francis Xavier Church in Junction City.
• 1960 – Parochial Vicar at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina
• 1961 – Parochial Vicar at St. John the Baptist Parish in Beloit
• 1966 – Pastor of St. Theresa Parish in Mankato and pastoral administrator at St. Francis Parish in Claudel
• 1970 – Pastor of St. Bernard Parish in Ellsworth
• 1976 – Co-pastor of St. Mary, Queen of the Universe Parish in Salina
• 1980 – Pastor of St. Boniface Parish in Tipton and St. Mary Parish in Downs
• 1987 – Pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Beloit
• 1994 – Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Selden, Immaculate Conception Parish in Leoville and sacramental minister at Sacred Heart Parish in Oberlin
• 2002 -Pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Hanover and Sacred Heart Parish in Greenleaf. Sacramental minister of St. Augustine Parish in Washington and Ss. Peter and Paul in Morrowville
• 2009 – Pastor of St. Wenceslaus Parish in Wilson, St. Mary Parish in Holyrood and St. Joseph Parish in Dorrance
• 2011 – Retired
•2011-19 – Chaplain at Nazareth Motherhouse, Concordia
• 2019 – Chaplain of St. Joseph (nursing home), Concordia
In addition to his parish assignments, Father Hoover had nearly four decades of experience in education. He received his master’s in religious education from Creighton University in 1970. He began his education career in the diocese by teaching at both the public and Catholic high schools in Beloit. From 1963-66, he led local efforts to establish the North Central Vocational Technical College, which is now called North Central College in Beloit. Also in 1963, he served as the CYO Diocesan Director. He also taught in the public school in Mankato, where he served as pastor of St. Theresa Parish. In addition to being in the classroom, he served for nearly a decade as Superintendent of Catholic Schools. While superintendent, he was also appointed as the director of religious education.
The following are comments from Father Hoover that were pulled from an article in the May 22, 2020, issue of the Register.
Upon celebrating his 60th anniversary to the priesthood, Father James Hoover once said, “I was one of these ones who pushed and burned the candle at both ends. I thought, ‘Those guys don’t live too long,’ but I did.”
The desire to be a priest was one he experienced at a young age. Father Hoover said he was 8 years old, working in the silo of his family’s dairy farm. He was praying as he assisted in filling the silo and eventually became stuck in the mounds of silage. “It was starting to get up to my chest, but I wasn’t worried,” Father Hoover said. “God got me into this, he would get me out.” Eventually, when the grain was up to his chin, his older brother peered into the silo, saw the stuck child and pulled him out.
The next day, Father Hoover told his parents of his desire to become a priest. Initially unsure about his parent’s reaction, Father Hoover said he sat to talk with his father about the desire. “(My father) said, ‘You made me the happiest man in the whole Church today. I often prayed that one of my boys would be a priest.’”
Father Hoover reflected on his years as a priest. “We’re in this to serve, not to take,” he said. “The most gratifying thing — outside of church — was serving people. Serving them always.” “Father Hoover loved his priesthood, and he gave it his all.