ORWELL — On Oct. 23, Father Robert Jones celebrated Mass and his 80th birthday at Unity Acres in Orwell. Father Jones has been ministering at Unity Acres, a “house of hospitality for men who have become chronically homeless due to alcohol, substance abuse or other factors,” since 1991, and became chaplain for the residence following the passing of the community’s founder, Father Raymond McVey in 1995.
In the past, Father Jones ministered at Elizabeth House in Bernhard’s Bay; St. Michael’s Parish in Central Square; St. Vincent’s Parish in Syracuse; St. Matthew’s in East Syracuse; St. Anthony’s and Holy Trinity in Syracuse; and St. Paul’s and St. John’s in Oswego. He also served as pastor of St. Mary’s and St. Bernadette’s of the North Shore.
Due to increasing health issues, Father Jones chose to live full-time at Unity Acres requiring the assistance of a walker, but that doesn’t stop him from ministering. Although no longer able to stand at the chapel’s altar, Father Jones celebrates Mass on Sundays and on weekdays, as well as officiates at funerals for the residents, at a beautiful table crafted by one of the residents at Unity Acres.
After attending a Board of Directors meeting on his birthday, Father Jones, a huge fan of Syracuse University’s basketball team, was surprised to enter the dining room of the residence and find it transformed for his birthday, complete with orange tablecloths, orange balloons, a special basketball-themed cake and gifts.
Father Jones is very much beloved by the men and staff of Unity Acres as well as the “Acres Church community,” who all wish him many more happy years of good health. This February, the community also looks forward to celebrating Father Jones’ 55th year of ordination.
To send a birthday greeting to Father Jones, write to: Father Robert Jones, Unity Acres, P.O. Box 153, Orwell, N.Y., 13426.