This Tuesday, Aug. 11, the Cathedral of St. Paul will host a program called “The Courageous Life of Father Coyle.” Following the 12:10 p.m. celebration of mass, there will be a reception hosted by organizers of the Father Coyle Memorial Project, including the local writer and actor John Wright.
Born in 1873, in Drum, Athlone, in County Roscommon Ireland, Father Coyle was ordained at age 23 and began his priesthood that same year in Mobile, Ala. He was appointed to pastor St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1904 and remained in the position until his untimely death 17 years later. Two months after Coyle’s death, Edwin R. Stephenson was represented in court by Hugo Black, claimed temporary insanity and was acquitted of the murder.
Coyle is remembered today as a hero, not only for his martyrdom but for his service to his congregation and his public defense of Catholicism at a time when anti-Catholic prejudice was as much a part of Birmingham’s culture as virulent racism. The event at St. Paul is expected to include an update on proposed plans to exhume Coyle’s body from his grave at Elmwood Cemetery and re-inter him closer to the spot where he was slain.
“The Courageous Life of Father Coyle” is a free program, and The Cathedral of St. Paul is located at 2120 Third Ave. North. For more information, call (205) 251-1279 or visit www.fathercoyle.org