Father Jerry Gingras.
Father Jerry Gingras.

Father Jerome R. Gingras, pastor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Glenville, Our Lady of Grace in Ballston Lake, and St. Joseph’s in Scotia, died suddenly on Oct. 8. He was 71.

Father Jerry, as he was popularly known, was born May 23, 1950, in Chicopee, Mass. He received his bachelor’s in philosophy from St. Hyacinth College and Seminary in Granby, Mass., and a master’s in theology from St. Anthony-on-Hudson and a master’s in pastoral counseling from Loyola College in Baltimore, Md.

Father Gingras was ordained by Bishop Howard J. Hubbard on May 6, 1978 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany. Father Gingras  joined the Conventual Franciscans in Granby, Mass., after his ordination. As a Franciscan, his assignments included: St. Paul's Church in Atlas, Pa., St. Stanislaus Church in Baltimore, Villa Maria College Campus Ministry in Buffalo, St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Sharon, Pa., and Holy Trinity Church Lawrence in Mass.

“We are terribly saddened by today’s news and by the loss of a dedicated priest. While we mourn the sudden loss of Father Jerry, we know that he lived his life for this moment. We will feel the pain of his absence, but eternal life is his reward and that is no small thing; it is everything,” said Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger. “We will be praying for his family and for the parishioners who were a second family to him, and, of course, we will pray for the repose of his soul. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him.”

Father Gingras became a diocesan priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany in 1994, and began serving at the Church of Immaculate Conception in Glenville under then-pastor Father J. Thomas Connery. After three years as an associate pastor at Immaculate Conception, Father Gingras was named pastor of the Church of St. Mary in Clinton Heights in East Greenbush. In 2007, Father Gingras returned to the Church of the Immaculate Conception as pastor. On May 6, 2018, Father Gingras celebrated the 40th anniversary of his Ordination to the Priesthood with a “simple reception” following the 11 a.m. Mass at Immaculate Conception. In October 2020, Father Gingras was assigned as pastor of St. Joseph’s in Scotia and Our Lady of Grace in Ballston Lake, while remaining pastor at Immaculate Conception.  

In an article in the Evangelist last year, Father Gingras showed off his “secret garden” at the Church of the ¬≠Immaculate Conception. The garden, 13 years in the making and nestled behind Father Gingras’ rectory, served as a meditative space in the mornings before Mass for both him and his dog, Grace, a rescue he adopted that is hearing- and sight-impaired. Father Gingras revealed the garden on his weekly virtual talk, dubbed “Tuesday Chat with Father Jerry,” of which he did 39 episodes on the church’s YouTube channel (Immaculate Conception Glenville). The topics ranged from tours of the parish and meeting the faith-formation team to the books used during the Liturgy.

On the Church of the Immaculate Conception website, Father Gingras talked about the privilege of being a priest.

"I am privileged to be allowed to enter into the lives and hearts of people, and to offer them consolation, share in their joy, and walk with them on their journey,” Father Gingras said. “Also, as a priest, I am humbled to provide the Eucharist for my people each week, and to offer the Lord's sacraments to them."

Father Gingras is survived by his brothers Daniel (the late Suzanne), Edmond (Claire), and Leonard (Kay); his sisters Suzanne Constantino and Rochelle (Richard) Benoit, along with many nieces and nephews, and grand nieces and nephews.
Father Gingras' body will be received at The Church of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Saratoga Road, Glenville at 3 p.m. on Oct. 14, followed by Mass of Christian Burial at 7 p.m., with Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger as the celebrant. Interment will be private at St. Rose DeLima Cemetery in Chicopee, Mass.

Although Father Gingras loved flowers, his wish was that memorial contributions be made to The Church of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Saratoga Road, Glenville, N.Y., 12302, Our Lady of Grace Church, 73 Midline Road, Ballston Lake, N.Y., 12019 or St. Joseph's Church, 231 Second St., Scotia, N.Y., 12302.