Fr. John passed from our hands into the hands of God on October 17, 2005 at 11:32pm CST.  Fr. John leaves behind  an entire world of friends and family who will miss him dearly. 

Listed below are the remembrances that have been sent in via our website.

to post your remembrances of Fr. John.


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 a priest!!

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 same).

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 goodness.

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 ever since.

He will "TRULY" be missed !!!!!!

Johnny Shaw


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 his commentator.
-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 for us.

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 Savior.

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.
Peg Rodrigues


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.

Betty Cail



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.

Kathleen Cook


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 others.

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.

Diane Wheeler

I’m still 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….

 Pat Wallace


Dear Raymond,

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

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From the US Province Priests of the Sacred Heart:

"Fr. John Young, S.C.J., the pastor of Queen of Peace Parish in Olive Branch, who had been treated during the past several months for a brain tumor, died late Monday evening, October 17, 2005 in Milwaukee Wisconsin.

Born in Coshocton, Ohio in 1939, Fr. John served a stint in the U.S. Air Force before pursuing his vocation with the Priests of the Sacred Heart.  He was professed in 1972, made his final profession a year later and was ordained to the priesthood in 1974.  He had been a part of the province's adult vocation program in Victorville, Calif.

Following his ordination, Fr. Young worked for a year at Divine Heart Seminary in Donaldson, Ind.  He continued in formation ministry at Sacred Heart Seminary in Victorville, where he also did pastoral work at George Air Force Base.

In 1978 he moved to Mississippi, where he was pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Walls.  During this time he continued with formation ministry by serving on the province formation committee.  In 1981, he
returned to Victorville and did vocation and retreat ministry for two years.  In 1983, he was named pastor of St. Matthew's parish in Corona, Calif.

After several years in California, Fr. Young was back in Mississippi, where he became pastor of St. James parish in Corinth.  Since 1993,he had been pastor of Queen of Peace parish in Olive Branch.  He took a leave from that assignment in June 2004 for treatment of the tumor.

In recent weeks, Fr. John had been living at a rehabilitation facility near Sacred Heart Monastery and the Villa Maria Community. Several SCJs had the opportunity to visit with him over the weekend and said that he was doing well. However, yesterday morning, Fr. John had what has been described as a "cardiac episode."  He had trouble breathing and his heart rate was erratic.  Paramedics were called and he was taken to St. Luke's Hospital in Milwaukee.  There, he was placed in ICU.  Although he continued to have "episodes," his last hours were said to be peaceful.  He died at 11:32 p.m."