After belonging to a large parish family for a number of years, we were not too
sure about joining the congregation at the "Double-wide on Sandage Road." But
the greeting that we received from the congregation and the soft spoken but
powerful homily from Father John, we could not see ourselves anywhere else. He
was super with both Jeffery and Blake (our children). One of the last
conversations I had with him was that he was still holding out on Blake becoming
We will miss you terribly.
Randy, Dianne, Blake and Jeff Cannon
How shocked and sadden we were to hear of a memorial service for Fr. John in
Sunday's mass. It was the first we heard of his passing and remained in shocked
the remainder of mass.
We moved to Southaven, July 26, 2004. My husband has been in the Air Force for
18 years so we are accustomed to small church communities. After visiting a
Catholic church, we decided we needed to try other local Catholic churches.
Queen of Peace was our second try. I came alone one Sunday morning shortly after
our move. Wow! my heart was stolen when Fr. John announced his usual prayer for
the military. I drove home with the largest smile on my face and told my
husband, "You have to come with me next weekend, I found our church". I proceed
to tell him how they say prayers at the beginning of mass and the children are
called up during mass (which my son loved due to our Air Force priest did the
We didn't get to experience Fr. John, as most did, but in the last year we feel
like we have always been here. There is not much I can say that most haven't
already said but I can say we will miss him very much. We look forward to seeing
him again in Heaven. God Bless you Fr. John! Rest in peace and spread your
Our deepest sympathy to all,
Marlene, Kenny & Kyle Lake
When I first met Fr. John at the old Queen of Peace (Sandidge Road Building), I
knew that this was the Church Home I was looking for. At that time I was Baptist
but that didn't make any difference to Fr John. Over a period of years Brother
Ben, (Deacon) Henry, and Fr. John were patient and thru RCIA classes I was able
to have a better understanding of Catholicism and converted and have been happy
He will "TRULY" be missed !!!!!!
Last night at choir practice the reality of the recent past events finally hit
home. The choir was practicing diligently for the memorial service for Father
John. Halfway during the practice I expected to look up over my music and see
Father John coming down the center aisle as he was known to do, especially when
we were practicing for something really big. This time I saw Fr. Jack and Fr.
Terry, not Fr. John. It just wasn’t the same. I know I will adjust, but still it
is not something I expected to have to do so soon. Father John gave me something
that no one else could, he was one of those responsible for Johnny’s conversion
and for that I will be eternally grateful. I am just sorry that I never actually
told Fr. John exactly how much that meant to me, so here goes better late than
never. Father John, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You will always be in
my thoughts and prayers and will occupy a special place my heart and in my
memories. I love you. Now you can look down on us in our beautiful church with
the magnificent organ and hear us raising our voices in praise and thanksgiving.
You can smile and say “I helped do that”. And, God knows that all is good. Rest
in Peace. PS Save a place for us.
Love, Cindy Shaw
My family and I came to Queen of Peace in early 1995 and were very impressed
that the pastor was so moved by his faith that he performed his homilies without
notes. He just walked around the front of the church speaking with us – not at
us- from his heart. His passion bellowed from his soft spoken words and we were
hooked. The building on Sandidge road was no cathedral in design, but the unity
and fellowship that grew from that little building was greater than the fanciest
Cathedral you could ever find. We were very proud of our church and most
importantly the strong bond that Fr. John helped us all to achieve.
Fr John spoke to us one Sunday about the thought of building a larger building.
He told us that in order to do this we would need many more ministers and he
needed us to ‘step up’ and “do what God put us here to do”. He told us that in
order to experience the power of Christ we needed to try to be more ‘Christ
like” in our faith. Sheryl and I took that homily to heart (as did so many
others) and signed up to be a Lector and Eucharistic Minister. Our children were
also moved by that sermon. Sherilyn signed up to be a Commentator and Shaunna a
Greeter. Fr. John was right. Our lives have changed a lot because of our
participation in the ministries he spoke of.
As our daughters graduated from high school and went off to college at Ole Miss,
Sheryl and I took up their ministries. Fr John always asked how they were doing
in College and would take time to speak with them on a personal level when they
came home for the weekend and accompany us to mass. We were always impressed by
his openness. He was not an ‘uppity’ or ‘holier than thou’ person. He was
someone who was always approachable and no matter what issue always had the
right thing to say to make the situation easier to understand.
Sheryl remembers fondly their conversations in the back of the church waiting
for mass to begin. One time as the 2nd verse of the opening hymn began he
grabbed her arm and told her to “turn around and let’s make a run for it”. He
was quite the practical joker.
One Saturday evening he told me that he wanted to try reading the announcements
before mass instead of waiting till the end of mass because there were more
people here before mass than there were after mass. He asked me to try it. He
wanted someone to read them that would add a little ‘pep’ to it. He handed me
the bulletin and told me to pick a couple of items to announce. So I did. And I
added some comments to them to lighten them up a bit.
As some of you know as time went on he was not afraid to holler from the back of
the church if I announced something incorrectly! Sheryl told me one evening that
Fr. John told her that he didn’t know what he had started by asking me to
‘adlib’ the announcements. He told her that he did not know that Jay Leno was
-After that I read them as he wrote them…well…..almost all the time.
As time went on I tried to do as much for him as I could. One evening while I
was at his house to help him with his computer and I noticed that he had his
Christmas tree fully decorated – with shamrocks!! It was March and he told me he
always wanted to have a seasonal tree that he never had to take down, He had
already taken down the hearts he had up for Valentine ’s Day and replaced them
with Shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day! Each holiday he decorated his tree with
things from that holiday until Christmas came around again.
We had a couple opportunities to share dinner with Fr. John. He and I shared our
stories about growing up in central Ohio. He in Coshocton and me in Columbus.
(The 2 cities are just a few miles from each other) We sure wish we could get
together and do that again.
Fr. John was always hesitant to ask me do things for him as he was afraid he was
taking my time away from my family. I could never get through to him that he had
done more for me than I would ever be able to repay. If we are lucky we will
have someone come into our life and change it forever. Fr. John Young did that
The girls and I were truly blessed to have had such a great man change our
lives. We will miss him, but he will always be with us in the things we do. He
showed us how to be better people – by the examples he set in his own life.
My dear friend, until we see each other again,
Leonard, Sheryl, Sherilyn and Shaunna Temple
Hello, my name is Jay Irons (James E. Irons, Jr.). I grew up in the Catholic
Faith and went to Catholic churches throughout my youth. After graduating high
school and getting out on my own somewhat, I visited other churches. I was
fortunate/blessed enough to learn about the Queen of Peach CC in Olive Branch,
MS and attended there. I had not ever attended a Catholic Church and gotten out
of it what I did from Father John's sermons, and I very much enjoyed his masses.
After getting married, my wife and I joined QOPCC and were welcomed with open
arms by Father John. What meant more than anything to me, is that we were never
"pressured" by him as a priest, to 'join' the church. Father John was not like
other priest (except for one other) I knew or was familiar with. He was laid
back more than most people, let alone most priests. He was not all "uppity" and
"formal"...I felt like I could go to him with anything and his words were always
calm, encouraging, and very positive. To me, he was a an example of Christ, as
should any minister in any Christian faith should be. Father John is awesome and
I know he touched many lives besides mine. I must also add, that I believe
Father John and Father Kibby at the Cathedral in Nashville, TN, are two of the
most outstanding people and priests in the Catholic Faith.
I feel extremely blessed to have known Father John here on earth, and am even
more blessed that we were able to get our two children, Gino and Jordan Abigail
baptized by him. I love Father John and he was a definite impact in my life.
He's one of those people for me that when asked, "who were the people in your
life that made a difference?"...Father John is DEFINITELY one of those people
for me. When my grandmother (Martha Jane Butler) met him before our children
were baptized, she immediately had great respect for him and loved him just as
everyone else does...this meant a lot to me and made me proud that I introduced
my grandmother to Father John as my priest. It was wonderful!! I can only
imagine ALL of the people/angels that met him as he left this earth, and I'm
sure my mom and grandmother were there to welcome him Monday night. As well, I'm
excited about seeing him when I get there too!!
To God: Thank you Lord for Blessing this earth and our lives with Father John
Young. We love him and our faith KNOWS that he is taken care of by you, Our
In Christ, Sincerely, JEIjr
I visited Queen of Peace many times (with my sister, Camilla McCall) and loved
Father John and the Queen of Peace liturgy there. May Father John be at peace
with the Lord.
We loved him.
Fred and Betty Reiselt, Corinth Mississippi
Father John loved to joke. When the bus pulled into the church parking lot after
the Young at Heart group returned from a trip to the Casino, Father John greeted
the bus with a collection basket.
I have only been with Queen of Peace for about three years, but from the first
time I attended Mass I felt, this is where I belong, and Fr John had a lot to do
with that feeling.
He loved children so much. He displayed this love when he invited the children
to come forward during mass. He seemed his happiest when greeting the children.
I have always heard people talk about a particular teacher, coach or other
person outside their family having an impact on their life, changing them and
making them realize things they never had before, seeing things in a new and
different way, and really shaping the rest of their life. I somehow missed the
opportunity for this type of person in my life until my mid-30's when I had the
great privilege of having Fr. John Young as my priest and pastor.
My mother introduced me to Queen of Peace in Olive Branch when the church was in
the small building off Hwy. 304 (Sandidge Road). I lived in east Memphis and had
numerous options for convenient Catholic churches in the area, but one trip to
the little building with the metal folding chairs and one mass filled with
overwhelming Spirit, humility, sincerity, and kindness, and I knew I was home
and it was well worth the drive from Memphis.
Growing up Catholic, and in Catholic schools, it became easy for me to go
through the motions of mass, "reciting" prayers and responses, but somehow
forgetting their meaning along the way.
It was as though Fr. John knew this. I will never forget the sermon he gave
about really thinking about what we are saying and praying, not just reciting
the words. He gave the example of the priest extending the prayer "Peace be with
you" several times during the mass, and the special meaning of this as God's
peace, and how reverent and important it is to respond "And also with you" with
heartfelt meaning and sincerity. Fr. John brought heartfelt sincerity to each
and every mass and his awesome example has changed my life and I know countless
I remember Fr. John speaking one Sunday about The Lord's Prayer. He said he knew
there were many beautiful hymns to which the prayer could be sung, but he wanted
everyone to participate in the power of this beautiful, fulfilling prayer, and
knew some people would not sing it, so The Lord's Prayer was never sung at Queen
of Peace. He reminded us again of the importance of really praying the prayer,
not just reciting it without thinking about what you were praying.
Fr. John had a way of making eye contact with every person in the congregation,
making them feel special and reaching them in a special way. I remember leaving
the church one Sunday and as I slowed to receive holy water, I heard a man
speaking about how he always felt like Fr. John was speaking to him personally.
We both commented on how Fr. John made each person feel special and welcome, and
as if he were speaking directly to them.
Fr. John was the person who made the biggest impact in my life. Because of this
glorious teacher, I now pray each mass with sincerity and a realization of what
each prayer means, the importance and meaning of the Eucharist, and sometimes I
have to say The Our Father many times over, realizing that I was just reciting
the prayer the time before, not praying.
Fr. John Young has made me a better person, a better Christian, a better
Catholic, more faith filled, and closer to God. I love him very much and will
always be grateful for his life long commitment to teaching God's word with
astounding sincerity and humanity. I know he holds a special place in heaven and
will continue God's work in heaven free from meetings and never having to eat
fish (Fr. John hated meetings and disliked fish!).
Goodbye for now, Fr. John. I will miss your laughter, your praise, your
kindness, but most of all your commitment and your loving example of teaching
the Word of God to us all.
not over losing Father John. He made me feel at home when I joined at the
old church and he was so proud of the new church. Wanted you to
participate. Everything had to be just so. He was my rock. Always there
when he was needed. I miss him even more during Christmas….
Your brother was a tremendous gift from God to all who were blessed toknow him.
When I try to think what my husband's and my life would have been without
Father John, I am overcome with gratitude for the immeasurable ways he touched
our lives. I know I speak for all at St. James Catholic Church in Corinth when
I say we are greatly diminished by
his loss, and that God has gained a special angel. We will hold you in our
prayers as you grieve the loss of your brother.
Janie and Fred Reiselt
I only smile when I think of
our wonderful Father John. Several months ago, prior to his illness, he
told several of us that he wanted his funeral to be a celebration
complete with a marching band playing "When the saints....". Now, that
might even top his "bananas in the Christmas tree" antics. Maybe we
could have a separate, private celebration for him so as not to shock
our Bishop. He didn't heed my advice when I told him, when he was so
very ill, "as a last resort.... fill your tub, bless the water to make
it holy, soak in it, and then spit in some mud and spread it on your
eyes" - but - he did laugh.
Love you. Nancy Bailey