Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Ana Rodriguez Soto - Florida Catholic newspaper
He had been in and out of the hospital throughout December, fighting off pneumonia. Just before Christmas, he briefly returned to the parish and announced at all the Masses that he had been diagnosed with leukemia, and that he and his doctors were discussing treatment options. He died Jan. 2 at 5:30 a.m. at Mount Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach from complications of both.
“It was very unexpected. One thing just led to another,” said Father James Fetscher, pastor of St. Sebastian Parish in Fort Lauderdale and a seminary classmate and friend of Father Carney.
Father Carney also suffered from “a form of palsy” that resembled Parkinson’s but “that never got in his way,” Father Fetscher said. “Over the years he had a number of physical things that came up, but he was a man who stayed in good shape.”
“He’s been our pastor my whole life,” said Teresa Martinez, former media relations coordinator for the Archdiocese of Miami and now director of communications at Belen Jesuit Prep in Miami. Father Carney “gave me my first Communion,” was present at her confirmation and was there to visit and console her family when her father was dying. To complete the circle, he was scheduled to give first Communion in May to her oldest daughter, a student at Blessed Trinity School.
Father Carney also “gave me my first job when I was in high school,” Martinez said — answering phones and greeting visitors after school at the Blessed Trinity rectory.
Knowing that she was interested in a career in broadcasting, Father Carney let her know that the archdiocese had a radio station — Radio Paz. Eventually, she joined the archdiocesan communications staff by becoming a producer in the television department (now closed).
“He was so happy to know I worked for the archdiocese,” Martinez said. She called him a “good, good man” and “a true example of what a priest is and should be. He loved his church. We were his family.”
Father Fetscher remembered him as a “good friend” who was a “kind of vicious” racquetball player in their younger days.
“Joe always stayed at my house” during breaks from the seminary, Father Fetscher said, recalling the funny way “his feet always hung out over the edge of the bed” because he was so tall.
He called his friend “quiet and laid back,” someone who “served behind the scenes” and was “a very solid priest, a very kind priest.” He said he will be remembered especially for the many years he spent working with married couples and Marriage Encounter. “He kept it going for a number of years,” Father Fetscher said.
Father Carney was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 10, 1942. He studied at St. William School there and entered the diocese’s high school seminary, Borromeo Seminary, before becoming part of the founding class at St. John Vianney Seminary in Miami (which at that time also included a high school). He completed his senior year of high school and his first two years of college at St. John Vianney, then continued his studies at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. He was ordained at St. Mary Cathedral on May 25, 1968, by Miami’s first archbishop, Coleman F. Carroll.
After his ordination, he served as parochial vicar at Nativity in Hollywood (1968-1971), Our Lady Queen of Martyrs (1971-1975) and St. John the Baptist (1975-1976) in Fort Lauderdale, Little Flower in Coral Gables (1976-1978), and Our Lady of the Lakes in Miami Lakes (1978-1982), before being appointed pastor of Blessed Trinity on June 9, 1982.
In 1986 he was appointed director of the English-speaking Christian Family Movement. He also served on the Archdiocesan Permanent Diaconate Review Board from 1986 to 1993 and as an elected member of the Presbyteral Council from 1995 to 2010.
“A quick examination of Father Joseph’s journey in the priesthood shows poignant similarities to the life of St. Joseph who never gave up on Jesus,” wrote Father Chanel Jeanty, archdiocesan chancellor for canonical affairs, in an email to priests announcing Father Carney’s death. “The virtues of consistency and patient endurance in living out the will of God in our lives are so rare these days that it is always inspiring to see it in a brother priest. Please pray for the repose of his soul and the consolation of his family.”
Funeral arrangements are as follows:
- wake Friday, Jan. 4, 5-10 p.m. at Blessed Trinity, 4020 Curtiss Parkway, Miami Springs, with wake service at 7:30 p.m.;
- funeral Mass Saturday, Jan. 5, 10:30 a.m., also at Blessed Trinity, followed by
- burial at Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery, 11411 N.W. 25 St., Doral.