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Rev. James R. Blaney

Rev. James R. Blaney, OMI
MISSIONARY OBLATE PRIEST FOR 48 YEARS

SITKA, ALASKA -- Rev. James R. Blaney, OMI, 76, died on December 4, 2013, in Sitka, Alaska, after a brief illness. He was born on July 30, 1937, in South Boston, MA, and was a son of the late John Blaney and Anna (O'Sullivan) Blaney. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his twin brother, Rev. Joseph E. Blaney, OMI, and his sister, Claire A. Blaney. He was also predeceased by his adoptive mother, Clara Peratrovich, into whose house, the L'eeneidí (the Raven/Dog Salmon), he was adopted while in Klawock, AK.

Fr. Blaney entered the novitiate of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Tewksbury, MA, on September 8, 1957. He professed his first vows on September 8, 1958. He studied theology at the Oblate College in Washington, DC, from 1961-1965. He and his twin brother, Joseph, were ordained together to the priesthood at St. Bridget's Church in South Boston by Richard Cardinal Cushing on May 22, 1965.

From 1966 until 1988, Fr. Blaney was assigned to work in parishes and hospital and prison ministry in Indiana (St. Bridget Parish, Indianapolis), Ohio (Ss. Simon and Jude Parish, West Jefferson), Kentucky (St. Alphonse Parish, Covington), and Michigan (Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Grand Rapids).

In 1988, Fr. Blaney was assigned to the Diocese of Juneau, Alaska, where he ministered until his death. He first served as the pastor of St. John's-by-the-Sea Parish in Klawock, on Prince of Wales Island. During his tenure there, he worked closely with Sr. Laeticia Lariviere, IHM. He oversaw the construction of a new parish church which incorporated elements of Alaska Native art and spirituality into its designs. Upon his adoption into the Tlingit L'eeneidí clan, his adoptive mother gave him two Tlingit names: "Eagle at Dawn" and "White Top".

In 2000, Fr. Blaney was assigned as pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Haines, AK, and St. Therese Catholic Church in Skagway, AK. In 2004, he became the resident pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Hoonah, AK, and also served as the priest for the parish of Yakutat and the missions of Gustavus, Pelican, Kake, Tenakee, Elfin Cove and Excursion Inlet, in which ministries he worked closely with Sr. Judy Gomila and Sr. Zita Simon, OP.

In 2006, Fr. Blaney became pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Petersburg, AK, and St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Wrangell, AK. When Fr. Patrick Casey, OMI, was assigned as pastor of St. Catherine of Siena in 2007, Fr. Blaney continued to serve St. Rose of Lima and also returned to Haines to pastor Sacred Heart parish again. His final assignment, in 2011, was as pastor of St. Gregory Nazianzen Catholic Church in Sitka, AK.

In addition to his Oblate family, Fr. Blaney is survived by two sisters: Mary Johnson and her husband, Gary, of Port Orchard, WA; and Margaret Quirk and her husband, Joseph, of Brockton, MA; and by two brothers: Paul Blaney and his wife, Karen, of Pembroke, MA; and John F. Blaney and his wife, Jane, of Bayside, NY. He is also survived by his adoptive father, Alva Peratrovich; his adoptive sister, Chickie James; his adoptive brother, Marvin George, all of Klawock, AK; and by Roberta George of Ketchikan, AK.

BLANEY -- Services were held in Sitka, AK, presided over by the Most Reverend Edward Burns, Bishop of Juneau. Locally, services and calling hours will be in the Chapel at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Residence, 486 Chandler Street, Tewksbury, MA. Calling hours will be on Thursday, December 12, 2013, from 2:00-4:00 pm and 7:00-9:00 pm, with a Prayer Service at 7:30 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 am on Friday, December 13, 2013. Interment will take place in the Oblate cemetery at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Residence and Infirmary. Fr. Blaney will be laid to rest beside his brother, Fr. Joseph Blaney, OMI.

Donations in memory of Fr. Blaney may be made to St. Gregory Nazianzen Parish, PO Box 495, Sitka, AK 99835-0495.

The McKenna-Ouellette Funeral Home, 327 Hildreth Street, Lowell, MA, is in charge of arrangements. For condolences or directions, please visit www.mckennaouellette.com.

Published in Lowell Sun on Dec. 11, 2013
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