How his work with migrants influenced his ministry:

How his work with migrants influenced his ministry:
“With migrants, you come to realize what is really
significant in your life. The day-to-day story about
the migrants was survival — for rent, for food. They
always gravitated to the Church. We also had to
become their advocates for the state. All that opens
you up to what it means to survive and be a human
being. And how you’re aided by the spiritual.”
Pastor emeritus
St. Anthony Parish,
Fort Lauderdale
How alcohol addiction affected his ministry:
“It informs your whole life. I got into AA (Alcoholics
Anonymous) and it gave me a whole new understanding of my vulnerability, and how you’re not
an island unto yourself. And (it provided) a new
understanding of God the Father. Prior to that,
it was ‘Do you believe that God loves you?’ But
through AA, I experienced it. That influenced my
relationship with God, and how I related to others.”
What the seminary did not prepare him for:
“The professors had been educated in Rome, so
through no fault of their own, they had no idea of
the American Church and not much understanding
what was going on in American society.”
‘You get the sense that (Pope
Francis) knows how to run
a parish.’
Culture shock on coming to U.S.:
“A big cultural shock. Suddenly, you’re out here
and totally free, and trying to manage your freedom
in a responsible way. And how the people viewed
Church and priests was very different. … You never
saw a priest (in Ireland) except at Mass, and people
stayed at a distance. Here, people saw the priest as
approachable. They’d invite you to their house.”
Hardest part of being a priest:
“Trying to be as available as possible, and trying to
be all things to all people. That can eat you up over
time. You hope you have enough spiritual life to
sustain you.”
Born July 16, 1941, on a farm in County Cork, Ireland,
Father Singleton aspired to the priesthood from seeing
priests who visited from many nations. He studied at
St. Patrick’s Seminary in Thurles, County Tipperary,
was ordained in September 1965, and set off for South
Florida. He was assigned first to St. Helen in Vero Beach,
where he acquired a heart for agricultural workers and
the underprivileged. That orientation would later guide
his work at Sacred Heart in Homestead, San Isidro
Father Jerry Singleton is seen here at the
PGA National Charity Golf Tournament
in 1990.
Favorite vacation spot:
“Back home in Ireland, on the home farm. And I
play a lot of golf, if weather permits. I tell people that
overnight, I become the laziest person in the world.”
Favorite TV series:
“I watch the news and golf and ESPN. I follow the
Favorite type of music:
“I like Irish music and light classical music, and
some country-western. It’s like Irish ballads.”
Person he most admires:
“Pope Francis. He’s the first one that I’m aware of
who has a sense of the pastoral. Francis’ sermons
are very down to earth. You get the sense that he
knows how to run a parish.”
and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Immokalee. While in
Immokalee, he recognized he had an alcohol addiction
and sought professional counseling. That led him to learn
how to help others out of substance abuse. He studied
the subject at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore,
then St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. On returning
to South Florida, he worked at Palm Beach Institute,
became clinical director of Anon Anew in Boca Raton and
eventually executive director of the Hanley-Hazelden
Center, West Palm Beach. He later served at St. Joan of
Arc in Boca Raton and most recently at St. Anthony,
from where he retired this July 1.
Something most people don’t know about him:
“There are times I seem to be vain. I take maybe
too much pride in accomplishments.”
Priestly stereotype that should be discarded:
“The stereotype of clericalism, where the priest
regards himself as special and is to be served. That’s
sometimes obvious at a golf course or restaurant,
where a priest may expect a free ride.”
“Maybe one would be that I didn’t go into recovery
from alcohol sooner. I could have saved myself and
others a lot of pain if I’d done it even three or four
years earlier.”
Biggest challenge facing the Church today:
“To become relevant, to help people make sense of
the Gospel message in their daily lives. That gets
beyond a lot of the regulations and laws that some
people can get caught up in.”
Advice for others considering the priesthood:
“Learn to serve people. Forget about fancy
vestments and vessels. Put into your head that
you’re going to serve.”
July 2014-Ad.indd 1
in Pompano Beach, the Pompano Beach Labor Camp
Archdiocese of Miami
9401 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, Florida 33138
305.762.1043 Fax 305.751.6227
7/9/14 11:25 AM