Deacon Boscoe, 79, remembered as gentle, committed minister

By Maria Wiering
mwiering@CatholicReview.org
Deacon John J. Boscoe Jr., a longtime deacon at Holy Trinity in Glen Burnie, died May 11 after being ill for several months.
According to his obituary, Deacon Boscoe was born Jan. 15, 1935, and grew up in Fall River, Mass. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a radar technician, Airman 1st Class, in the Korean War. After marrying his “hometown sweetheart,” Joan Crossely, in 1957, Boscoe moved to Maryland where he worked as an electronics engineer for the Department of Defense at Fort Meade. He retired in 1990.
He was ordained a deacon in 1989. At the time, he told the Catholic Review that he “discerned a specific call” to the diaconate, and that he credited the success of his study and ordination to the support of his wife and six children.
At Holy Trinity, his parish since 1965, he was a member of the Holy Name Society and the Knights of Columbus. He was known for his love of academics, Irish folk music, tennis, canoeing, good beer and wine, reading and tomato gardening. He retired from ministry in 2011 but remained active in the parish.
Deacon Kevin Brown joined Deacon Boscoe at Holy Trinity during an internship in 2004, and he was assigned to the parish after his ordination in 2005.
“John was always a gentle man and loving,” Deacon Brown said. “He meant a lot to many people whose lives he touched. Even though he died at the age of 79, he was always young at heart and spirit. He always had a good sense of humor and never took himself too seriously. I always appreciated it.”
He remained in good spirits through his final illness, Deacon Brown said, and he enjoyed visiting his hospital room.
Deacon Brown said that Deacon Boscoe taught by example, and showed him how to be attentive to people with whom he was speaking.
“John was always a source of wisdom for us,” he added. “For the people who have been there (at Holy Trinity) for a long time … there’s going to be a hole in his place. Very fond memories will help people pass through this time of sorrow.”
Monsignor J. Bruce Jarboe, rector of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Homeland, said Deacon Boscoe “expressed a very real inner joy that motivated his life, a joy rooted in his faith.”
Monsignor Jarboe was pastor of Holy Trinity from 2003 to 2010.
“He had a lot of very real empathy for people and their needs,” he said, adding that Deacon Boscoe had a gift for spiritual direction. “He provided a lot of guidance and support for people in their lives of faith, or spiritual journeys.
Sue Love, Holy Trinity’s office manager who worked with Deacon Boscoe for 14 years, said he will be remembered as gentle, dedicated to his ministry, family oriented and passionate about evangelization.
“He was a very faith-filled, soft-spoken person,” she said. “When you talked with him, he was always kind and smiling.”
Love added: “He had a genuine pastoral sensitivity to wanting to help other people. He enjoyed spiritual direction and pastoral counseling. It was clear that he had a genuine, close relationship with Jesus, and he was willing to help other people with their relationship with the Lord.”
Deacon Boscoe is survived by his wife, five children, 10 grandchildren, family and friends. He is preceded in death by a daughter, Helen, and two siblings.
A viewing will be held May 15 at Fink Funeral Home, 426 Craine Highway South in Glen Burnie, from 3-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. A funeral Mass will be offered 1 p.m. May 16 at Holy Trinity in Glen Burnie. The family requests that donations are made to the Little Sisters of the Poor in Catonsville in lieu of flowers.
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