In Loving Memory – Fr. James Francis Valk C.R.
Father James Francis Valk, C.R., passed away on July 17th, 2023. Fr. Valk has served the Catholic community in various capacities since 1965.
He began his ministry as a Catholic educator at St. Jerome’s High School, later returning to retire at Louis Hall at St. Jerome’s University. During his tenure at St. Jerome’s University, Fr. Valk presided over weekend masses to our worshipping University Catholic Community. His faithful service and eternal optimism touched the lives of many students, faculty, staff and community members. His full obituary can be read here.
Erika Toffelmire from our Campus Ministry shared the following about Fr. Valk, “Fr. Jim was a mainstay in the St. Jerome’s University community. I got to know him first when I was a student, but then I continued to work with him as a staff member at St. Jerome’s University. Unbeknownst to me, Fr. Jim had already retired before I was a student on campus but remained a faithful presider over our masses until 2018. Over these years, I was always astounded by the hope, optimism, and true care he expressed in his sermons and his enthusiastic conversations with students, staff, faculty, and community members. Fr. Jim was an avid storyteller, always eager to share the joys of his life experience with others, which often included humour. I remember one story in particular from one of his homilies from 2009. He shared a story from his time in Bolivia, where he served marginalized communities. At one mass, he watched as the collection basket went around the room with people placing what offerings they could into it. It stopped at one older woman who, without having anything else to place in it, stepped into the basket herself. This memory best evokes Fr. Jim as a man who would put others ahead of himself, serving our community with faithfulness, enthusiasm and unbounded generosity.”
The St. Jerome’s community sends our deepest condolences to Fr. Valk's family and our gratitude for his time, energy and contributions to our institution over the years. He will be greatly missed.