Msgr. Innocenzi, center, is pictured with Father Phillip Pfleger, episcopal vicar for Burlington County, and Msgr. Thomas Mullelly, diocesan vicar for clergy and consecrated life and director of seminarians. John Blaine photo
Msgr. Innocenzi, center, is pictured with Father Phillip Pfleger, episcopal vicar for Burlington County, and Msgr. Thomas Mullelly, diocesan vicar for clergy and consecrated life and director of seminarians. John Blaine photo
It is my sad responsibility to share the news of the sudden passing of Msgr. James Innocenzi earlier today in his residence at Villa Vianney in Lawrenceville.  He was 72 years old.

Born and raised in Trenton, Msgr. Innocenzi was a member of St. Joachim Parish.  He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Trenton in 1976 and served in a variety of parochial and diocesan positions, currently as Judicial Vicar (head of the Diocesan Tribunal).  Msgr. Innocenzi was the first pastor of St, Michael Parish in Trenton and one month ago attended the 100th anniversary of the Church building.  His next assignment was to serve as St. George Parish in Titusville.  In 1997, Pope St. John Paul II honored him with the title of Monsignor, Prelate of Honor.

Throughout his priestly career, Msgr. Innocenzi remained deeply devoted to his work in the Diocesan Tribunal, serving couples seeking annulments as well as dealing with other matters in canon law.  He was a chaplain for Trenton’s Fire Department and also a beloved chaplain and spiritual advisor for several divisions and councils of central New Jersey’s Knights of Columbus.

Msgr. Innocenzi’s sudden death saddens so many of his brother priests, dearest friends and co-workers and former parishioners.  One priest wrote me, “this news hurts my heart.”  And so it does, indeed, for those of us in the Diocese who knew, admired and loved him. 

May our loving God grant him eternal rest.