Tuesday, March 29, 2016

St. Paul Church On Court Street To Commemorate Reverent Thomas Byles, Titanic Hero

Photo of Rev. Thomas Byles

On Thursday, April 14th at Saint Paul Church on the corner of Congress and Court Streets at 6pm, a plaque will be unveiled by Father Joseph Nugent commemorating Reverent Thomas Byles, one of the passengers aboard the RMS Titanic, who perished on the doomed ocean liner exactly 104 years ago.
The unveiling will be followed by a brief ceremony and an account of Father Byles'
effort to save lives on that faithful day by Benjamin and Cady Crosby, a brother and sites team who established Titanic Heroes, a non-for-profit organization to honor heroic passengers.

Here is some additional information on Thomas Byles from Benjamin and Cady Cosby

"On April 14, 1912, the largest ocean liner at the time, the RMS Titanic, struck an iceberg and sank. There were 2,228 passengers on board - of these, 1,523 perished. Among those lost at sea was a Catholic priest, the Rev. Thomas Byles. Fr. Byles was leaving his parish in Essex, England to officiate the wedding of his brother William in New York. During his time on board, Rev. Byles offered Mass, and ministered to passengers on board. When the Titanic struck the fateful iceberg, Fr. Byles immediately rushed down to those in steerage (third class), who didn’t know what was going on. He brought many up to the deck, and when the order ‘Women and children first!’ was given, he 
was instrumental in getting as many women and children into the lifeboats as possible. Fr. Byles was himself offered a seat in a lifeboat twice, since he was a priest, but he declined each time, choosing instead to remain with those on deck. He went down with the ship and his body was never recovered.

There is no doubt that Fr. Byles’ story is an incredible story of heroism. But many of us have never heard his story before. The goal of Titanic Heroes is to change that. Since 2012, Titanic Heroes has yearly donated a wreath in honor of Father Byles to be dropped by airplane over the site of the Titanic’s sinking. In addition, Titanic Heroes was instrumental in the placement of a plaque commemorating Fr. Byles at the Epping/Ongar Railway Station in England, which was the station that Fr. Byles departed
from over 100 years ago. We are pleased to announce that we have found the parish where Father Byles was to officiate his brother’s wedding: St. Paul’s in New York. We will be ceremoniously placing a plaque or Father Byles at this parish on April 14, 2016.


Anonymous said...

Katia, this sounds familiar. Wasn't this supposed to happen about a year ago, and then it was suddenly cancelled?

Katia said...

Exactly. They may have done some more research to be sure that this is the church. But it is now officially "on."