Local pastor, Father Jerome R. Gingras, died unexpectedly on Friday. Gingras, 71, was serving as pastor of three churches at the time of his death: St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Scotia, Our Lady of Grace in Ballston Lake, and the Immaculate Conception Church in Glenville.
“We are terribly saddened by today’s news and by the loss of a dedicated priest,” said Albany Diocese Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger. “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.”
Gingras was ordained on May 6, 1978 at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Albany. In 1994 he began his ministry at the Church of the Immaculate Conception as an associate pastor and was incardinated into the Diocese of Albany.
“Father Jerry was a great man and a great priest,” said Fran Rossi Szpylczyn, the pastoral associate for administration at the Church of Immaculate Conception. “He was smart, funny and warm. He would drive people crazy, but we all loved him. He did everything he could do for the glory of God.
“Communities are devastated. I am devastated. I spent more time with him than I have with my own husband. He was my boss for 13 years, I’ve never served anyone that long.”
After being named associate pastor, Gingras ministered at St. Mary’s in Clinton Heights. He also served in congregations in Maryland and Pennsylvania in addition to New York.
During his ministry, Gingras had spoken of his dedication to his ministries, and his parish posted his words on its website: “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. 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.”
Gingras returned to the Church of Immaculate Conception in 2007, where he was named lead pastor. He celebrated his 40th anniversary as an ordained priest on May 6, 2018 after Mass at the church. In October 2020, Father Gingras accepted a position as a pastor at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and Our Lady of Grace in addition to his ministry at Immaculate Conception.
“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,” said Scharfenberger.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been made.