97-year-old Reverend James Lloyd says he delivers a daily sermon at morning church service, hears confessions, and looks at YouTube, where he watches World War II clips. The oldest living priest in America says he is not ready to retire because he’s got so much work to do, and there’s barely any time for him to sit down.
Rather than think about retirement, Rev Lloyds feels that he has rejuvenated his ministry. The archived video episodes of his CBS “Inquiry” talk show, which ran from 1958 to 1973 is currently attracting thousands of hits and likes on YouTube.
Lloyd is a Paulist priest – a missionary society of Saint Paul the Apostle, better known as the Paulist Order or Paulist Fathers – It is a Roman Catholic society of men whose mission is to evangelise with the intention of converting people to Catholicism.
Lloyd grew up in a building on 61st Street in Manhattan, in New York. He is the son of a Jewish Vaudevillian dad and Irish singer mum.
He said he dated plenty of girls at age 27 before becoming a priest with the Paulists, who are generally missionary, including on college campuses. “Don’t forget I had a full head of hair back then. Now I am as bald as an eagle,” he said.
But Lloyd said his life became “full of joy” when he was ordained.
He said his first mission as a priest was to serve as a missionary in South Africa. After seven years, he was brought back to New York to help his home community.
While serving the poor and underprivileged, he also earned a Ph.D in psychology from New York University, which he said gave him extra tools to guide people.
His ministry and affable manner gained a lot of attention, and Lloyd was asked both to be a professor at Iona College and to host the show known as “Inquiry.”