The parishioners of Blessed Trinity Catholic Church began the New Year with an ache in their heart as they learned that their longtime pastor, Rev. Joseph Carney, had died in the early morning hours of Jan. 2. Father Carney, 70, had been a priest for 44 years and pastor of Blessed Trinity for the past 30 years.
Throughout the month of December, Father Carney battled pneumonia and just a few short weeks ago stood in front of the church and announced that he had been diagnosed with leukemia. That would be the last time Father Carney would address the Blessed Trinity congregation.
Approximately 500 people gathered to honor and remember Father Carney at the funeral Mass that took place the morning of Jan. 5. Blessed Trinity’s massive field, which is well known for being filled with festival amusement rides during the month of November, was now a parking lot that was filled to capacity. The large tent that holds Christmas trees during the month of December was transformed into a makeshift sanctuary, streaming live video for the overflow of people who couldn’t fit inside the church. With a filled sanctuary, and a filled tent, still many others were content to just listen to the service on the speakers as they stood outside of the church doors.
Those who were able to attend the service inside the sanctuary were among Father Carney’s two brothers, Robert and Timothy Carney, and their families, along with many guests from the archdiocese, including two bishops and more than 50 priests.
“Grief is a difficult cross to bear. But as you see, you don’t have to bear that cross alone,” Rev. Deacon Dan Blaha said as he addressed the overflowing sanctuary.
Over the years in this small, unique community of Miami Springs and Virginia Gardens, the church and the school at Blessed Trinity have become just like a family to so many people. It is often referred to as a hidden gem where you’ll discover many people who spent their childhood here and are now are raising their families here.
Over his 30 years at Blessed Trinity, Father Carney impacted the lives of so many of those people. One of ministries that Father Carney held dear to his heart was the marriage ministry, also known as Marriage Encounter. He was also devoted to the children at Blessed Trinity Church and School.
“He was such a great boss to work for and I’m going to miss him so much,” shared longtime Miami Springs resident Debbie (Parke) Ayash, who is the media specialist for the school where she has worked at for the last 11 years. Ayash met Father Carney when she was just 15 years old and all three of her children attended BTS, with one child still in Pre-K. “He cared so much for our school, he was so involved. He was at every single faculty meeting. Just two weeks ago we were laughing and joking with him. He’s going to be missed so much and by so many people.”
Father Carney was born in Cleveland on July 10, 1942. He attended high school at the Borromeo Seminary at St. William School and eventually made his way to Miami where he attended high school at the John Vianney Seminary. He completed his first two years of college at St. John Vianney. He was a member of the first ordination class at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary and was ordained by Miami’s first archbishop, Coleman F. Carroll, in 1968.