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Father Joseph Carney, 70: 'a good, good man'

He had been a priest for 44 years, the past 30 of those as pastor at Blessed Trinity

MIAMI SPRINGS | Parishioners at Blessed Trinity are reeling from the news that their longtime pastor, Father Joseph Carney, has died. Father Carney, 70, had been a priest for 44 years and pastor of Blessed Trinity for the past 30.

Father Joseph Carney: born July 10, 1942; ordained May 25, 1968; died Jan. 2, 2013.

Photographer: FILE PHOTO

Father Joseph Carney: born July 10, 1942; ordained May 25, 1968; died Jan. 2, 2013.

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.
Among his survivors are his two brothers, Robert and Timothy Carney, their wives and children. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to them care of Blessed Trinity Church.

Comments from readers

Mariana S. Lopez-Ona - 01/09/2013 03:02 PM
Fr. Carney, you certainlly were a special priest. Your Mondays
counting crew will miss you terribly. Thanks for the 30 years you
dedicated to Blessed Trinity. See you again. My deepest sympathy to
your brothers and family.
Elaine M. Syfert - 01/09/2013 12:14 PM
Just returned from a trip and found out the sad news of the passing of dear Father Joe, our condolences to his family and also to his parish family.
Father Joe was always an inspiration for us as a real dedicated priest, Lloyd and I will never forget him as part of the team in our original Marriage Encounter weekend in 1976 and later on over the years working with him in Marriage Encounter. What a beautiful journey and how many many people he showed the love of God. Rest in Peace dear friend.
Fr. John F. Fink - 01/09/2013 11:08 AM
My last memories of Fr. Joe were while on priest retreat last October. We shared several meals and table conversation together. Being both from the Cleveland area and the same home town, and having both studied at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, we had quite a few things in common. Fr. Joe was a very likeable guy, easy to relate to, and always friendly and approachable.
A very good and solid priest! He died all too suddenly. May his memory and the good he accomplished in his priestly ministry continue to bear fruit in the Church of Miami. Blessed repose and eternal memory! I will miss you, Joe.
rick Anthony - 01/08/2013 12:18 PM
A good man, a good friend, an excellent priest and spiritual helper. I often think about him and what I learned from him, and will miss him much.
Jim and Barbara Baggot - 01/08/2013 12:07 AM
Our deepest sympathy goes out to Fr. Joe's family, his two brothers and their wives and children. We have known Fr. Joe for 40 years having met him through Marriage Encounter. We now live in Punta Gorda, Fl. so we have not seen him in some time. The news of his passing was a shock to us and our family. He was an inspiration to us as a priest, good friend and a man who showed us how to love God. When we think of Fr. Joe, a smile comes on our faces. There were so many good times with him. His dry sense of humor and smile is a memory that we will not forget. Now we can smile again as we think of the peace he must be experiencing.
Marcy Lopez - 01/06/2013 10:51 AM
This morning as I turned the pages of my Magnificat- where all the daily mass readings are found - I came not to be surprised how MAGNIFICENT are Gods plans . Yesterday , Saturday 5, 2013 this is one of the readings for the day, read through out the word at every morning mass :
Jesus said :
" Amen I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more.....in the age to come". Mathew 10: 29-31

Father Carney you did that!!!! We are reminded with this perfectly timed scripture what we know The Lord has already rewarded you with. I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to know you better as God used you to call me closer to Him through service. I got to love to serve with you in the different ministries and thank Jesus for allowing me to know in a deeper way the man behind the priest. I loved to be part of your faculty and staff and specially loved our yearly one - on - one contract signing meetings where I often ambushed you in expressing how much I had come to love you! Your smile always told me you loved me back . I will miss you dearly . May you be dancing already with
"The Lord of the Dance"

Debbie and Ashley Piehl and Alice and John Leal - 01/06/2013 08:11 AM
There are no words to express how we feel about Father Carney who has been an part of our lives for the 30+ years served at Blessed Trinity and Ashley's whole life. Father Carney was an icon of the Church and his gentleness and his teachings will always be a major part of what we believe, our faith and our Love for God,Jesus Christ,the Holy Spirit, The Blessed Mother,The Eucharist,the Church itself. We love him dearly and he will always remain in our hearts. His legacy will live on in each of us. We love you so much Father and will deeply miss you! We accompany the Carney Family in their sorrow, because we too are his family.
The Piehl Family and the Leal Family
Vicky and Mike Sokolowski - 01/05/2013 06:48 PM
We joined Blessed Trinity and the choir in late 2006 and immediately fell in love with the church, the people, and especially Father Carney. Never had we felt this welcomed and "at home" as we did and still do at Blessed Trinity. Father Carney was one of those rare prients that was good at every ministry he was entrusted with. His homilies were always so inspirational, thought-provoking, and just the right length - a perfect blend of Catholic history and current-day call-to-action. In the confessional room, Father was a humble representative of Jesus - listening without judging; gently guiding and advising; and reconciling us with a profound sense of peace. He was the most caring and understanding priest we have ever come in contact with.

God bless Father Carney's family during this difficult time. We are all so thankful that you shared him with us for all these years.

We will miss you Father Carney. Please continue to pray for us.
Becki Mecsery - 01/05/2013 06:44 PM
I am a cnvert. I went through RCIA in 2000-2001. My first confession was to Fr Carney.
He then gave me First Communion and Confirmation.
He was truly a man of integrity!
I will miss him but so thankful I knew him.
Am sure he is very happy to see his folks.
Coleen Robrahn - 01/05/2013 05:33 PM
I know that Father Joe is at peace with God today. He was such a calm, caring, peace filled, funny, loving man. He was always there for my family as if he were family. Thank you for such a loving life Father Joe. We will miss you but know you are with us always in spirit and love.
Joe Valencia - 01/04/2013 05:46 PM
Yesterday I tried to remember Father Carney in my own way, by thinking of: his passionate, brutally honest, always caring, sometime funny, and yes, long homilies, and by sharing with my daughter's some chocolate cake; which the good father usually gave up for Lent.
Despite the sadness, a fond smile came to me when I realized that our loss is Heaven's gain.
Helio & Maria Bueno - 01/04/2013 04:22 PM
Father Carney was such an intricet part of our married & family life
He married us 30 years ago Baptists, Comunion & Confirmation of Jason & Melisa. A dear priest and friend who cared for us as a family and parishioner . It was very hard for him to accept Helio & my moving to Texas just a couple of months ago but we told him that he would always be in our hearts. Thank you for everything Joe you will be missed but we will meet again!
Fr. Joe Fishwick - 01/04/2013 03:51 PM
I first met Fr. Joe when I advanced to Major Seminary in Boynton Beach in 1966. Though definitely an upper classman and being years ahead of me, he immediately treated me as a brother. He was always an inspiration, a faithful friend, a wonderful confidant and guide, and a true brother-priest. I will forever treasure his gentle sense of humor and warm smile. He was everything a priest SHOULD be.
Rest in peace, Joseph! Well done, good and faithful servant!
And let us PRAY for Vocations to the Holy Priesthood. Fr Joe Fishwick
Mike and Denise Florea - 01/04/2013 03:29 PM
We met Fr. Carney when we moved to Hollywood in 1968. Nativity was his first parish and soon became ours. We called the school to get babysitters so that we could continue socializing in Palm Beach County. Attending church on Sunday was not one of our priorities. Sr. Joseph Ellen, the principal at Nativity recommended the Holt girls.
At that time Sister JE, Mary Ann and Jim Holt had taken this new young priest under their wings. Then we came along and Mary Ann decided that she was going to take us on.
We were invited to a CFM meeting. Fr. Carney was the moderator. Little did Mike and I know that God was going to change us forever with these three special people.
After a few weeks Fr. Joe came to our house to ask us to teach CCD classes in our home. Then later on he convinced us to attend a marriage encounter which made us realize that our marriage was in big trouble. Quitting was not an option in his eyes, so he counseled us for almost a year. Well, his plan did work we will be married 50 years in August 2014. In 1971 he was transferred to Our lady Queen of Martyrs and became good friends with the Strands. He introduced us to them and planned a trip to Austria. We were called “the Magnificent 10, which included him, Fr. Venezia, us, the Holts, the Strands and the McCormicks. Every year after that we made sure that we went somewhere together as a group.
Mike, Fr. Carney and I were 26 when we met. He baptized our youngest son Nick, married our daughter Monique and Steve, and visited my daughter-in-law on the day that she passed away from cancer. He also celebrated our 25th marriage renewal and had the funeral for my mother.
We love you so much Fr. Joe and we will truly miss you. Our “Magnificent 10 now is down to 6. But, now we have another good one up there to put in a good word for us. God bless you Fr. Joe and your family

The Florea Family - 01/04/2013 12:31 PM
The Florea Family will really miss you.
Our prayers for you and your family.
Mike and Denise Florea - 01/04/2013 12:24 PM
We met Fr. Carney when we moved to Hollywood in 1968. Nativity was his first parish and soon became ours. We called the school to get babysitters so that we could continue socializing in Palm Beach County. Attending church on Sunday was not one of our priorities. Sr. Joseph Ellen, the principal at Nativity recommended the Holt girls.
At that time Sister JE, Mary Ann and Jim Holt had taken this new young priest under their wings. Then we came along and Mary Ann decided that she was going to take us on.
We were invited to a CFM meeting. Fr. Carney was the moderator. Little did Mike and I know that God was going change us forever with these three special people.
After a few weeks Fr. Joe came to our house to ask us to teach CCD classes in our home. Then later on he convinced us to attend a marriage encounter which made us realize that our marriage was in big trouble. Quitting was not an option in his eyes, so he counseled us for almost a year. Well, his plan did work we will be married 50 years in August 2014. In 1971 he was transferred to Our lady Queen of Martyrs and became good friends with the Strands. He introduced us to them and planned a trip to Austria. We were called “the Magnificent 10, which included him, Fr. Venezia, us, the Holts, the Strands and the McCormicks. Every year after that we made sure that we went somewhere together as a group.
Mike, Fr. Carney and I were 26 when we met. He baptized our youngest son Nick, married our daughter Monique and Steve, and visited my daughter-in-law on the day that she passed away from cancer. He also celebrated our 25th marriage renewal and had the funeral for my mother.
We love you so much Fr. Joe and we will truly miss you. Our “Magnificent 10 now is down to 6. But, now we have another good one up there to put in a good word for us. God bless you dear friend.

Lou & Rose Amorose - 01/04/2013 09:41 AM
We feel that a large chunk of our life is gone. We met Fr. Joe when we became involved in Marriage Encounter in 1983. From that time on, he played a huge part in our lives as well in as our children's lives--children's weddings, grandchildren's baptism, funerals of our parents, dinners, golf and long discussions (or debates) about the Church. We credit him with being the inspiration for our children to continue in the Catholic faith as adults. They were so comfortable with him; he was truly what a priest should be.

We moved away from S. Florida 10 years ago but the friendship remained with phone calls and having lunch everytime we made a trip home.

We will sorely miss this wonderful friend and priest. My heart goes out to the family.
SR. ROSE EREBA, HHCJ - 01/04/2013 03:27 AM
I recieved the new of Fr. Carney's death from friends (the Sosa family) today with great sadness. Fr. Carney was an inspiration to me from the first time I met Him. I was moved by the love he had for his parishioners especially the little ones in the School. He took time to engage each one of them in a conversation after MASS with a lovely smiles and a fatherly care. A ggod sherphad who knows his sheep and cares tenderly for them. As a yearly visitor to his parish, he made me longed forward to coming to worship at Blessed Trinity Parish because of the warm welcome and appricating constantly my vocation and my ministering in the USA. Father, Thank you very much. rest in perfect peace for you will surely be rewarded with your heart desire of resting in God's eternal presence. I will also want to send my condolence to the Prishioners of Blessed Trininty. I share in your sorrow and asked our Blessed Mother Mary to intercede for you all and that the Lord will console all of you. My dear friends, the best way to mourn Fr. Carney is for us to resolve to put into practice all that he had taught us over the years. God bless you.
Ginger Uhrich-Spenard - 01/04/2013 02:04 AM
I met Fr Joe Carney when we moved to Miami Springs & joined Blessed Trinity in 1984. I retired & moved to Old Town in North Florida about 6 years ago but returned to Miami periodically until last year. I loved going to Fr Carney's Mass on each return visit.
I'm so sad to hear that he is gone. He is my all time favorite priest. I learned so much from him through his Homilies, his kind wisdom in the confessional, & just routine interaction with him. He was such a holy yet human man. Words cannot express how much I respected him. He will be greatly missed. But just think, he is with God enjoying the Beatific vision now & forever.
My condolences to Robert, Timothy & the entire Carney family, all my Emmaus brothers & sisters & to Blessed Trinity Parish. Fr Carney,his family, all of Blessed Trinity & the new pastor will be in my prayers & on our parish prayer board up here.
Aimee Amorose Trupiano - 01/03/2013 09:00 PM
I will miss Fr. Joe tremendously. I met him when I was about 13 years old, through my parents who were active in Marriage Encounter with him. Throughout my teenage years, he put up with all of my questions grilling him about our faith. He was a constant in our family coming to dinners, golfing with my dad and coming to family celebrations. He married me, baptized both of my children, and married my brother as well. He most recently was there for my parents when my grandmother passed away. For 28 years Fr. Joe has been in my life and I will miss him greatly. God bless you, Fr. Joe and my prayers go out to your family.
David and Luzmaria Keasal - 01/03/2013 07:03 PM
Father Carney was instrumental in preparing us for marriage and for David's formation as a Roman Catholic in RCIA. He offered the Mass for our wedding in 1999, and was an inspiration to us always. We will miss him, but will carry his memory and his teachings in our hearts. He was everything that a priest should be.
Deacon José A. Alemán - 01/03/2013 05:55 PM
I came to know Father Carney a little more than 20 years, shortly after arriving in this country. At first we didn't have a close relationship since I was involved mainly in Spanish masses and only occasionally in bilingual liturgies. We eventually established a closer relationship. When I decided to apply to the permanent diaconate program, Father Carney gave me his full support which continued for four and a half years of discernment, preparation and study. It was he who helped me dawn the stole and dalmatic the day I was ordained (12/17/2011). God willing I was assigned to serve at Blessed Trinity. I can assure you that this past year has been a time of blessings and growth for me, largely thanks to the support, understanding and love that Father Carney bestowed upon me.I would characterize the Father as a man of God, a humble priest who devoted himself to serving his parishioners, his community. May his life serve as an example; it demonstrates that vast majority of priests are faithful and consecrated to their ministry! Trusting that he is in the loving and merciful hands of our Father let us pray for his family and for Blessed Trinity Parish, so that it may carry on, with the grace of God and under the guidance of its priests, the service that for many years Father Carney dedicated his life to.
Marge Lyles - 01/03/2013 05:42 PM
I think, that Fr. Carney was at his best when administering the Sacraments.
Twenty years ago I had cancer, which I was led to battle wholisticly without the conventional means. In the intermin years, [now 20!] I had six or more different maladies for which I presented myself to Father for the Annointing of the Sick.
He was always available ASAP and I felt so blest to receive the sacrament from his priestly hands. Everytime I rec'd that sacrament, it seemed with a few days, the answer came, leading me to the next treatment modality I should choose. So, in that sense,I am now here because of him, and he is gone! Fr. Carney did not "choose" to be a builder; yet he said "yes" to all the challenges of building. First with renovating the church, then building a Parish Hall, a new rectory, and now the Educational Building, soon to open.
I feel we should name the hall after father Carney. I hope we do. Louis and I wish to extend our deepest sympathy to his brothers, and all the Carney family.
He talked about his family a lot, and of the three Carney boys, he always made himself to be "black sheep!" ;o) RIP gentle Prince of the Church!
Susan (Youdell) Dejean - 01/03/2013 03:40 PM
During Marriage Encounter your patience with me showed in your ever-
present gentle smile; thank you for baptizing Adam so many years ago. Enjoy eternity with your Savior.
Msgr Michael Flanagan - 01/03/2013 02:20 PM
Father Joe, may you rest in peace. You inspired me everytime we were together and you encouraged me to continue with Marriage Encounter. Yes, indeed, you were a very,good man
Abel L. Lera - 01/03/2013 11:28 AM
I will always remember Father Joe as “my priest”. Father Carney was there for me when I wanted to enter the R.C.I.A. program and get back to the church. I was fortunate to have worked with him on many occasions and was able to see a different side of him. Joe was very passionate about his mission and of his parish. God Bless you Joe.
Evelyn Estefan ,DDS - 01/03/2013 10:58 AM
Father Carney was a true representative of the solid principals of the Catholic Church.
With his profound dedication to our community, he set forth for all to follow those principals at the center of each family represented .
His well thought out messages and reflections of the Scriptures gave us every year a new vision of how to remain pure within the ways of the new world.
His Humbleness led us to see the virtues we should seek so that we are ready to go home to The Lord .I am blessed and proud to have met a Representative of God like his was.
He will never be forgotten.
Patricia A. Cummings - 01/02/2013 09:49 PM
When Fr. Joe came to BT in 1982 we were thrilled that he would be our Pastor for more than 2 years. His goal was to be our spiritual leader first and a business manager second. He succeeded tremendously. He established a Parish Council and relied on them. He devoted himself to the spiritual nourishment of all his parish family. That family grew, and Fr. Joe was up to the challenge. He led by example, with love and grace. He laughed with us, cried with us and lifted our spirits. He was a man of God who served and inspired, and he will be missed.
Reza Shahbazi - 01/02/2013 09:42 PM
"Oh heart, if one should say to you that the soul perishes like the body, answer that the flower withers, but the seed remains." - Kahlil Gibran
To my father in Law Tim Carney, my mother in Law Mary Carney, Uncle Bob Carney and family, my Sisters in Law Sharon and Chrissy Carney and my wife, Katie Carney (Shahbazi);
I am so extremely sorry to hear about Uncle Joe's passing. I was absolutely shocked to know that we lost such a wonderful man. I know that you are devastated and I am also heartbroken. Uncle Joe was one of the most wonderful men I have ever had the pleasure to know. I know how much he meant for you all. I'm sure that you will pull through this and be alright, just as Uncle Joe would want you to.
My heart goes out to you and all of you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Please accept my condolences on your deep loss.
With all of my sympathy and love,
Reza Shahbazi, Cleveland Ohio
Artemis Tursi Otaiza - 01/02/2013 08:01 PM
Fr. Carney was an example of holiness for me. He was an instrument of the love of God in my life. I thank God for having given me the opportunity to know him and work with him to bring glory to the Lord. He baptized two of my children and was a source of inspiration with his wonderful and profound homilies. But most important, he was a role model in his love, kindness, forgiveness, and wisdom, as he strove to live his life according to the gospel. Thank you, Fr. Joseph Carney. May you rest in the arms of God for all eternity...
Lorenzo A Rodriguez - 01/02/2013 06:31 PM
With the passing of Fr. Carney, it is most important that we all pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

Please keep him in your prayers and ask God to help us discover more vocations.
Carlos C. Puente - 01/02/2013 05:38 PM
Dear Mr. Robert & Mr. Timothy Carney & Families:

On behalf of my entire family, all 3 generations please receive our deepest condolences and warmest regards, please know that Father Carney was always very good to our family and we will all miss him so very much. now that God has received him with arms wide open, God Bless him and all the Carney's.

Carlos C. Puente & Family
Will Trueba - 01/02/2013 05:10 PM
I had the pleasure of knowing Fr. Carney since he came to Blessed Trinity Parish. I thank him for encouraging me to further explore and grow in my Faith journey during the many years I was part of the parish. I was privileged to share many conversations and laughs with him when I worked at the rectory in the 80's, and then later to have him baptize 3 of my children. The Lord has called home a good shepherd.
God Bless Fr. Carney!
Jack Wilcosky - 01/02/2013 05:09 PM
Joe will be sorely missed. He exemplified who a priest should be, generally without loosing his sense of humor.

May he rest in peace.

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