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12:10pm Mass at The Cathedral of St. Paul
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
to Honor Father James Edwin Coyle's Life and Legacy


Irish-born Father James Edwin Coyle is shown in the left photo as a young Priest, ordained in Rome in 1896 at age 23.  He is pictured in the right photo in May of 1921 at age 48 as he prepared to celebrate his Silver Jubilee as a Priest while serving as Pastor of St. Paul's Parish in Birmingham.  Less than three months later, on August 11, 1921, Father Coyle was assassinated as he sat on the front porch of the former parish rectory.  Earlier that afternoon, he had presided at the marriage of Ruth Stephenson to Pedro Gussman.  Miss Stephenson, the daughter of a minister, was baptized a Catholic several weeks before the marriage.  Her father, a part-time minister and a member of the Ku Klux Klan, shot Father Coyle shortly after he learned about the marriage.  This tragedy occurred during a regrettable period of anti-Catholic economic and psychological persecution in Birmingham.

(Photo credits: the young Father Coyle, from the Erik Overbey Collection at The University of South Alabama Archives, Mobile.  Father Coyle during his Silver Jubilee, from the personal collection of the late Bill Fex of Birmingham, who worked for Father Coyle for ten years at St. Paul's.)

Everyone is invited to attend this Memorial Celebration of the Life of Father Coyle and learn about his devout and heroic priesthood during this tense time for Catholics in Birmingham.


St. Paul's Cathedral
2120 3rd Avenue North
Birmingham, Alabama 35203