A funeral Mass was offered May 22 at St. Mary's Church, Amsterdam, for Rev. James Gulley, who died May 17. He was 79 and had been a Christian Brother for 24 years and then a priest of the Albany Diocese for 32 years.

A native of Watervliet, he ministered while he was a Christian Brother as a teacher and a social worker at schools including St. Joseph's in Barrytown, N.Y.;  DeLaSalle in Washington, D.C.; LaSalle in New York City; Christian Brothers Academy in Albany; DeLaSalle, Detroit; and Lincoln Hall in Lincolndale, N.Y.

Except for summer assignments as a seminarian at St. Francis de Sales parish in Loudonville and St. Vincent de Paul in Cobleskill, Father Gulley's entire ministerial service was at St. Mary's parish in Amsterdam. He was appointed pastor there in 1988 and served in that capacity until his retirement in 2008. He was also on the Diocesan School Board and St. Mary's Hospital's Advisory Board, and was chaplain to the Amsterdam Fire Department and Hospice.

In his interviews with The Evangelist over the years, Father Gulley deflected any praise for his ministry, preferring to boast about St. Mary's: "Our parish family includes the poorest of the poor, the richest of the rich and all that is in between. It's just a beautiful mosaic of God's people. The fact that they feel responsible for their faith shows in their actions, in their generosity and in the fact that they are so service-minded."

When nearby United Presbyterian Church suffered a devastating fire in 2000, Father Gulley offered St. Mary's Church for their worship services until they rebuilt: "I feel it's what should be done - extending Christ's care to others in times of tragedy," he said. "We're sharing what we have in abundance, and I've always believed the Lord will take care of our needs in a special way also."

"Father Gulley is such a compassionate, supportive, respectful, encouraging person," said parishioner Rachelle Cotugno in 2009. "He has made a positive difference in my life, and he deserves a lot of praise."

May Father Gulley be granted eternal life and peace for his many years of faithful service.