By Jennika Baines
Sun Associate Editor
On Tuesday, Oct. 19 — what would have been the 64th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood — a funeral Mass was celebrated for Father Joseph Kane. The Mass was celebrated at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception by Bishop Robert Cunningham and was attended by priests from all regions of the diocese.
Father Joe was born on Nov. 18, 1921 in Binghamton to John and Marie (McManus) Kane. His family has long been devoted to ministry within the Syracuse Diocese. His brothers, Jim and John, became priests as well. His nephew, Father Tim Taugher, is pastor of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Binghamton.
Msgr. Jim Kane spoke at his brother’s funeral, and he shared with those gathered how important both faith and family were in Father Joe’s life.
“All of the songs and readings and remarks today center around a definite image, a theme: the image of a table,” Father Jim said. Father Jim said that his family’s life also centered on the kitchen table. “That table was very long and rectangular, and it was the center of activity for the Kane family,” he said.
Father Joe was quite a bit older than his brother — he was already off to college when Father Jim was just in first grade. But Father Jim still has vivid memories of his brother sitting at the family table.
“He loved to eat at the table. And he loved to eat everyone else’s food,” Father Jim joked, saying this was especially the case with his little brother who often couldn’t clean his plate.
“The family would gather around that long table, and Sunday was the special meal of the week, especially in difficult times,” Father Jim remembered.
“Recall your own experience at special occasions of the year. How often do we sit around the table and just enjoy each other’s company and who we are?” he said. “Joe was always aware of the significance of the table in his experience with the family.”
Father Joe shared this sense of the significance of family at the parishes he served.
After attending St. Patrick’s Academy in Binghamton, Niagara University in Niagara, N.Y. and St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester, Father Joe was ordained by Bishop Walter Foery on Oct. 19, 1946.
Father Joe was an associate pastor at St. Catherine’s Church and St. Christopher’s Church in Binghamton, at St. James Church and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse.
On April 21, 1967 he was appointed pastor of St. Andrew’s Church in Syracuse. He would remain there for the next 30 years, until his retirement in 1997.
“Of all the places that Joe served, the time that was most significant for him was at St. Andrew the Apostle in Syracuse,” Father Jim said. “He loved that parish community.”
Father Jim said that his brother dedicated his life to making the parish the most progressive in the diocese.
After his retirement, Father Joe resided at Tommy Coyne Residence for retired priests until he moved to St. Camillus Nursing Home earlier this year.
Father Joe is predeceased by his parents; his brother, Father John W. Kane; brother and sister-in-law, Robert A. and Betty Kane; brother-in-law, Robert Taugher Sr.; and nephew, Kevin Taugher. He is survived by Eleanor Kane Taugher (sister); Msgr. James D. Kane (brother); and 11 nieces and nephews, including Father Tim Taugher.
Father Jim said his brother took great enjoyment from his family and friends all his life, especially time spent with his many nieces and nephews. He added that he felt certain his brother was now sitting at a more magnificent table with those he loved and served.
“It is the table that brings us together. It is the love gathered around the table that makes all the difference in the world,” he said. “Joseph goes to the table one more time in the most beautiful setting, gathered with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and he gathers with his parents, relatives, friends and former parishioners. He is at a banquet never to end, always to bring him joy.”
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Priest Retirement Fund, Diocese of Syracuse, Chancery Office, 240 East Onondaga St., Syracuse, N.Y. 13201 or Unity Acres, P.O. Box 153, Orwell, N.Y. 13426.