Father Jim Ferry, M.M.

A Hard-workiing and Seasoned Missioner

Father Jim Ferry is an American missionary priest who is still going strong at the age of 92.
  He arrived in the Philippines with Gen. Douglas MacArthur and  celebrated his golden jubilee in 2006, an event that was highlighted in a Philippine Star article of June 9, 2006. On that date, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales presided over the Mass in honor of Maryknoll Father Ferry at the Shrine of Jesus, located at the Macapagal Boulevard in Pasay City.

Father Jim, as he is fondly called, has spent 60 years in the Philippines doing mostly pastoral and seminary work. In recognition of his valuable contribution to the Church, the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin even wanted to nominate him as a bishop, but Father Jim declined.  For him, ‘to be a priest and a missionary priest is fulfillment enough.’ On Feb. 23, 2002, Pope John Paul II conferred on him the Medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.

Father Ferry was born on June 7, 1925 in New York. Before starting his priestly life, he first served in the US Navy during World War II as a corpsman, that is, a surgical nurse, before he entered Maryknoll in 1946. When asked about his sea voyage with General MacArthur, he would often say, ‘No, it was Gen. MacArthur who came with me. He boarded my ship.’

Father Jim had to leave the Philippines for a few years, but he returned in 1956 after he was ordained a priest of the Maryknoll Congregation.  jimferryHe was first assigned to work in Paete, Laguna but was later transferred to Mindanao where he spent 30 years in Tagum, Lupon, Baganga, Bato-Bato and Davao City. ‘Those were wonderful years of mission work,’ Fr. Ferry said. It was during this time that he learned to speak fluent Cebuano.

For a time Father Jim was the Regional superior of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers in the Philippines. He also taught at the Regional Major Seminary (REMASE) in Davao and helped train many priests and bishops. In 1989, he was re-assigned to Manila and in March 1996, Cardinal Sin appointed him Episcopal Vicar for Religious in the Archdiocese of Manila. In December 2003, Archbishop Rosales re-appointed him to the same office.

As Episcopal Vicar for Religious Men and Women in Manila, Father Jim used to teach Sacraments, Liturgy and Homiletics at San Carlos Theologate, Holy Apostles Senior Seminary, and Maryhill School of Theology.

Aside from Christ the King Parish in Greenmeadows, Fr. Ferry also says Masses and hears confessions at Greenbelt Chapel in Makati City.  He also gives days of recollection and retreats.

When asked in 2006 about his health, he answered, ‘I can’t complain. I have a full day’s work and aside from a few aches here and there, God has indeed blessed me.’