Father Fallon leaves a legacy of service tinged with humor
By luke eggleston / sun staff writer
JOHNSON CITY — St. James Church was filled nearly to capacity Friday, May 25 for the funeral of Father James Fallon.
Roughly 50 deacons and priests including Syracuse Diocese Bishop James Moynihan attended the Mass.
After many years of illness, Father Fallon passed away Monday, May 28 at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton at the age of 70.
A native of Binghamton’s west side who grew up attending St. Patrick’s Church, Father Fallon was ordained Feb. 2, 1962 and spent the majority of his life as a priest in the Southern Tier but also served in Rome, N.Y.
He graduated from St. Patrick’s Academy in Binghamton before going on to his seminary studies at St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s in Rochester.
Father Fallon’s first assignment was as associate pastor at Assumption Church in Binghamton. He also served at St. Paul’s and St. Peter’s, both in Rome, and Our Lady of Sorrows in Vestal. He served as the chaplain at the Rome School for the Deaf and was a faculty member at Rome Catholic and also Seton Catholic in Endicott.
He founded and directed the Emmaus House of Prayer in Endicott. He was pastor at St. Mary of the Assumption, Binghamton; Our Lady of the Rosary, New Hartford; St. Patrick’s, Binghamton; and Christ the King, Endwell. He had been in residence at St. James, Johnson City, since 1994.
His parents, James T. and Katherine Fallon; his brothers, William and Richard Fallon; and his brother-in-law, Richard Manning, predeceased him.
He is survived by his sister, Mary Ellen Manning, of Canandaigua; two brothers and three sisters-in-law, Donald and Mary Fallon, Jerome and Marie Fallon, and Patricia Fallon, all of Binghamton; 14 nieces and nephews; and four great nieces and nephews.
Bishop Moynihan, who celebrated the Mass, offered a few words regarding Father Fallon. The bishop noted that Father Fallon had spent many years in Broome County and at St. James in particular.
“Truly, this is where is heart has ever been,” Bishop Moynihan said.
The bishop commented on Father Fallon’s demeanor, saying that despite his failing health, he always maintained an upbeat bearing.
Father Thomas Ryan, who recently left St. James for an assignment at Immaculate Conception Church in Fayetteville, was the homilist for Father Fallon’s funeral Mass.
Father Ryan opened his homily with a joke. Humor ran throughout the course of the homily. Father Fallon was well known for his own sense of humor.
“I promise my homily will only be as long at Father Jim’s were,” he said, referring to the fact that Father Fallon’s homilies were frequently rather lengthy.
Father Ryan also extended his condolences to Father Fallon’s family and thanked the parishioners, priests and St. James staff members who attended the funeral.
Father Ryan was attending seminary when he first met Father Fallon while he was the director at Emmaus House. He then noted that Father Fallon had taken up residence at St. James in 1994 and had immediately become active in the ministry there. Persistent heart problems forced Father Fallon into early retirement.
He underscored the passion with which Father Fallon approached his ministry. Oftentimes, according to Father Ryan, the late priest’s intensity would lead to him losing his temper. But Father Ryan stressed that he was always quick to get over it. This same intensity, however, was reflected in Father Fallon’s faith.
“Throughout Jim’s life he was on fire,” Father Ryan said. “He was on fire for the Lord. He had a zeal for the Lord and the Lord’s work.”
In addition to founding Emmaus House, Father Fallon founded perpetual adoration at St. Patrick’s and was also active in the charismatic movement in the Syracuse Diocese.
Father Fallon was also a fine priest, according to Father Ryan.
“He was an effective and ardent minister,” Father Ryan said. “He was a gifted homilist.”
Father Ryan stressed that Father Fallon’s faith hinged on the Eucharist.
“The celebration of the Eucharist centered Jim,” Father Ryan said.
Father Fallon was also renowned for his festivity, according to Father Ryan. Often he was the lastone to leave a gathering.
Father Ryan also underscored Father Fallon’s nationality.
“He was Irish through and through,” Father Ryan said.
Father Ryan noted that Father Fallon was very active in the lives of those whose parishes he presided over.
“He knew their history, he loved and supported them,” Father Ryan said. “But he was not afraid to challenge them.”
He also noted that while a funeral is a time of grief, it is also a time to recognize the impact of the deceased.
“We mourn but we also celebrate his ministry,” Father Ryan said.