The Rev. James B. Coveney, pastor emeritus of St. Mark's Catholic Church, 416 Sixth Ave., recently celebrated the 50th anniversary.
Father Coveney was born in Altoona, son of William Paul and Catherine (Wineland) Coveney. He graduated from St. Mary's Elementary School, Altoona, in 1951 and Altoona Catholic High School in 1955. He received a Bachelor of Arts from St. Fidelis College, Butler, in 1960. He received a master's degree in religious education from the Theological Union, Washington, D.C., in 1962 and a Master of Divinity from Saint Francis Seminary, Loretto, in 1979. He was ordained by the Most Rev. J. Carroll McCormick, D.D., on May 23, 1964, at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.
His early assignments included St. John Gualbert Co-Cathedral, Johnstown, St. Benedict's Church in Geistown and Catholic chaplain at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.
He also was appointed to SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish, Windber. He was associate editor of the Altoona-Johnstown "Catholic Register" from 1964-72.
In 1972, he joined the faculty of Mount Aloysius College, Cresson. While there, he was promoted to associate professor and chairman of the Social Science Department. He also served as adjunct instructor in pastoral studies at Saint Francis Seminary in Loretto.
Father Coveney has served as pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Portage, and Holy Family Parish, Colver. His final assignment was as Catholic chaplain to Penn State Altoona and pastor at St. Mark's Church, Altoona.
At St. Mark's, he was instrumental in the construction of a new parish bell tower.
The parish bell, purchased from the Pennsylvania Railroad, is the oldest railroad shop bell on the continent of North America, dating back to the founding of the city of Altoona.
A Mass of thanksgiving and reception were held in his honor May 25 at St. Mark's Church.