Msgr. James G. Innocenzi, diocesan judicial vicar
Msgr. James G. Innocenzi, diocesan judicial vicar
Msgr. James G. Innocenzi, a priest of the Diocese for 45 years and current diocesan judicial vicar, died unexpectedly Jan. 13. He was 72.

In announcing Msgr. Innocenzi’s death, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., wrote, “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,’’ Bishop O’Connell said. “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.”

Msgr. Innocenzi was born in Trenton in July 1949, to Mr.and Mrs. Albert Innocenzi. He was a member of St. Joachim Parish (now part of Our Lady of the Angels Parish), Trenton, and he graduated from St. Joachim School and Cathedral High School, also in Trenton.

Msgr. Innocenzi’s higher education included studies in the Pontifical College Josephinum, Worthington, Ohio. He completed his studies for the priesthood in St. Mary Seminary and University, Baltimore.

On April 24, 1976, he was ordained a priest in St. Joachim Church by Cardinal Egidio Vagnozzi, a cousin of Msgr. Innocenzi’s father and at the time, the Holy See’s Prefecture of Economic Affairs.

Following ordination Msgr. Innocenzi was first assigned to Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Milltown. In 1977, he was named defender of the bond of the Tribunal, and in June 1980, was appointed assistant chancellor of the Diocese of Trenton. During this time, Msgr. Innocenzi resided in Holy Angels Parish (now part of St. Raphael-Holy Angels Parish), Hamilton.

"Msgr. James Innocenzi (Msgr. Jim to many who knew him) was my friend and colleague in Tribunal ministry for almost 45 years", shared Msgr. John Dermond, Tribunal judge and retired priest of the Diocese. "During most of that time he was also a parish pastor. He was truly dedicated to the service of people wherever he ministered. May he rest in peace."

In 1981, he briefly served as temporary administrator in Assumption Parish (now part of St. Isidore the Farmer Parish), New Egypt, and St. Edward Parish, Milford. He was appointed temporary administrator of St. Michael Parish, Trenton, in 1982, and was named chaplain of the Trenton Fire Department in 1983.

He continued his work with the diocesan Tribunal and was reappointed associate judicial vicar, defender of the bond and advocate/ notary for an indeterminate term beginning Oct. 26, 1983.

He was appointed to the interdiocesan tribunal as judge and defender of the bond for a three-year term beginning Nov. 8, 1993.

On June 6, 1986, he was appointed pastor of St. Michael Parish, Trenton. In 1997, then Pope John Paul II named him Prelate of Honor of his Holiness with the title of Monsignor.

He remained in St. Michael Parish until he was named pastor of St. George Parish, Titusville. He has served as chaplain to Hopewell Council of the Knights of Columbus, which includes membership from both St. George and St. Alphonsus, Hopewell, parishes. He also has held several additional positions with the Knights of Columbus, including serving as the faithful friar of the Bishop Griffin Assembly, chaplain of the Central New Jersey Centennial Chapter, chaplain of the Trenton Diocesan Federation and, as of September 2010, district friar of the Second New Jersey District.

Msgr. Innocenzi retired as pastor of St. George Parish in 2015 and lived in Villa Vianney, the diocesan residence for retired priests in Lawrenceville. Until the time of his death, he continued to serve the Diocese as judicial vicar to which he was appointed in June 2014. 

Funeral arrangements for Msgr. Innocenzi will take place at St. George Church, 1370 River Road, Titusville, NJ  08560.

Visitation:
     Thursday, Jan. 20, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
     Friday, Jan. 21, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Mass of Christian Burial:
     Friday, Jan. 21, 11:00 a.m.

Interment: St. Mary Cemetery & Mausoleum,1200 Cedar Lane, Trenton, NJ  08610