Priest rescued 500 dogs and cats off the streets in Texas
A PRIEST who saved 500 abandoned dogs and cats in Texas – earning the moniker St Francis of the Westside – will be laid to rest this week after his body is repatriated to Dublin.
Fr Jimmy Hynes, originally from Ballyfermot Avenue, passed away on October 2 in the USA, following an illness with cancer.
After his ordination on March 19, 1973, Fr Jimmy spent almost 10 years at a mission in Peru before heading to the USA around 1983/4.
It was here that he came to fame in local broadcast media for his work saving animals off the streets of San Antonio, appearing on KSAT 12 following his retirement in 2017 after 45 years of service in his vocation.
“We have a responsibility to take care of these creatures. They’re God’s creatures,” Hynes said to KSAT 12 at the time.
“I just found it very hard to pass them by.”
Fr Jimmy’s brother, Danny Hynes, said it started with a gift of a small dog.
“He had never had a pet as an adult and it didn’t take long before he was smitten, so much so he added another puppy to his parish household. He soon realized how many dogs were wondering the streets, abandoned, hurt and hungry. Whenever he came across one, he would take it to his vet and then home.”
Speaking to The Echo from his home in Stockholm, Danny continued: “His vet bills were mounting astronomically and his house was reaching full capacity. Fortunately, his reputation for saving dogs spread beyond his parish location and dog rescue groups came to his rescue and assisted him in finding homes for all his dogs, most of them finding homes out of state.
“Jim and the new owners stayed in touch and his walls were filled with pictures of happy families showing off their adopted pets. Once Jim had help in his mission, it only increased his desire to save more dogs which he did for years earning him the reputation of the St Francis of the Westside. Jim said the only thing he regretted was not being able to save more deserving animals dumped on the streets of San Antonio.”
The Echo understands Fr Jimmy’s last visit to Dublin was in June 2019. On his return to the USA he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.
“He had various treatments over the following months but on February 24, 2021 he was given six – eight months to live,” said Danny.
“He moved into Padua Place, a home for sick priests in April. The following months were a very difficult time for us, his family, as we couldn’t visit him due to Covid restrictions. But we are thankful he had a great circle of friends in San Antonio who visited him daily.”
The Hynes family have chosen the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals if anyone wants to make a donation in memory of Fr Jim at www.ispca.ie/donate/once_off
Danny said his brother’s ashes are due to arrive in Dublin on October 29, and he will be buried with his late parents Peter and Nellie Hynes in Palmerstown Cemetery.
The funeral Mass will take place on Saturday, November 6, in the Church of the Assumption, Ballyfermot, at 11.30am.
A message on RIP.ie said Fr Jimmy Hynes “Jesuit Order, formerly of Ballyfermot, died peacefully in his home in San Antonio Texas. Beloved son of the late Peter and Ellen and brother of the late Caroline, will be very sadly missed by his loving family, brothers Richard, Peter, George, Danny, Christy, John and sister Margaret, extended family, neighbours and friends.”