Brother James E. Malone, C.F.X.
Brother James Malone entered eternal life peacefully at the Kaplan Center in Danvers, MA, early in the morning of Sunday, August 1, 2021.
In life Brother James was a wonderfully gifted, energetic, outgoing and caring religious who was faithful to his commitment “to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, the poor man totally given in love of God and all people everywhere.” (Fundamental Principles of the Xaverian Brothers) This commitment of love impelled Jim to embrace more fully our Xaverian missionary charism.
JIm was born to Julia (nee Buckley) and James R. Malone in Somerville, MA on June 29, 1936. He is survived by two younger brothers, Eugene and Bernard. Bernie is married to Joan and they have three adult children.
After graduating from Saint Clement’s High School in June 1955, Jim entered Sacred Heart Novitiate in Fort Monroe, VA. On September 8, 1955 Jim received the Xaverian habit and religious name ‘Brother Liam.’ From 1957 through 1961 he continued his formation at Xaverian College in Silver Spring, MD where he earned his BA in History from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 1961. By 1969 Jim earned his Master’s Degree in Religious Education also from the Catholic University. The ministry of religious education, a major thrust in our Founder’s vision for the Brothers, was Jim’s primary love which inspired his many ministries: teaching, coaching, administration, youth and faculty formation.
From 1961 to 1975 Jim would invest his many gifts and energy in our Xaverian ministry of education at Notre Dame High School, Utica NY, Saint John’s High School, Shrewsbury, MA and Malden Catholic High School, Malden, MA. Jim’s gifts were many. His energy inexhaustible. In his various Xaverian ministries, Jim taught religion, coached track and soccer, counseled, moderated student councils, headed religious activities, and worked with budding journalists on school newspapers. Jim enjoyed all he did, but more importantly, he really enjoyed ‘people.’ His outgoing personality, winning smile, warm greetings to individuals by name and his authentic concern for them impacted many students and teachers.
Jim was born on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. Perhaps it was in his stars. Not really knowing how much Jim imitated these two saints, nonetheless one can see their influence in his life. Jim had very strong beliefs about how religious life and Catholic education should be carried out. Like Saint Peter, he could be rather outspoken when he disagreed with a particular practice or decision. Like Saint Paul, Jim’s singleminded mission of bring Christ to others would lead him to places that would benefit from his gifts. Starting in 1975 to recent times, Jim ministered in Lansing, MI, as Director of Schools, as Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Portland as well as in the Dioceses of Metuchen, NJ and Wilmington, DE. Jim also served twice as Director of Formation for Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools and assisted with staff formation at both Xaverian and Kearney high schools in Brooklyn. More recently Jim ministered at St. John Paul II High School in Slidell, LA where he was asked to coordinate ‘mission and ministry’ for the school community.
Jim was a lifelong learner and a very engaging teacher. He did post graduate studies in Pastoral Ministry at Seattle University, in Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University, New Orleans, and Multicultural Studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.
It was a privilege to participate in the formation programs Jim did for our sponsored schools. Often he presented to a hundred or more teachers. Strangers at the beginning of the program. Friends at the end. Jim was a great storyteller. He always used a gospel story about Jesus. He would bring the story alive. His sense of humor, high energy and uncanny ability to connect a gospel story to real-life situations encountered by teachers were amazing to watch. Teachers were engaged. Jim’s major message to them was always ‘to work the crowd’ as Jesus did. How so? Simply by using your own gifts to meet and accept students and colleagues where they are. ‘Work the crowd.’ Jim did exactly that. His personal gifts and love for what he was doing would result in one hundred or more new friends! His real gift, however, was his commitment to stay in touch with them after a presentation. And that he did.
Jim’s health issues over the last several years invited him to share our Founder’s simple prayer: “O Lord, I cannot understand your ways, but I must adore them.” Jim was called ‘to let go’ of what was most precious to him—his love for our missionary spirituality as Xaverians. He was gradually being called ‘to embrace’ the spirituality of diminishment. While he may not have understood what God wanted of him, nonetheless, Jim accepted the diminishment—letting go of his driver’s license, letting go of his independence and letting go of his love of sharing a meal with friends. He really enjoyed a good time with friends. He enjoyed life. His ‘letting go’ allowed him to accept the reality of his present condition.
Jim leaves us a powerful example of how to let go of one’s own will in order “to stand ready to answer God when God asks you if you are available for Him to become more present in your life and through you to the world.” Like Mary, Jim learned to willingly respond: “Let what you have said be done to me.”(Fundamental Principles of the Xaverian Brothers).
Jim learned that God’s ways were not always his ways, and that God’s thoughts were not always Jim’s thoughts. May he now experience the peace and healing touch of God’s love for him. We thank God as we celebrate Jim’s life. Moreover, we honor his memory as ‘we continue to work the crowd as Jesus did.’
May Jim Rest In Peace.
Prepared by Brother Edward Driscoll, CFX