On Thursday, April 14th at Saint Paul’s Catholic Church on the corner of Congress and Court Streets at 6 p.m., a plaque will be unveiled by Monsignor Joseph Nugent commemorating Reverend Thomas Byles (26 February 1870 – 15 April 1912), one of the passengers aboard the RMS Titanic, who perished on the doomed ocean liner 104 years ago. Fr. Byles was on his way to officiate his brother’s wedding mass.
The unveiling will be followed by a brief ceremony and an account of Father Byles’ effort to save lives on that faithful day by Benjamin and Cady Crosby, a brother and sister team who established Titanic Heroes, a non-for-profit organization to honor heroic passengers.
“Fr. Byles immediately rushed down to those in steerage (third class), who didn’t know what was going on. He brought many up to the deck, and when the order ‘Women and children first!’ was given, he was instrumental in getting as many women and children into the lifeboats as possible. Fr. Byles was himself offered a seat in a lifeboat twice, since he was a priest, but he declined each time, choosing instead to remain with those on deck. He went down with the ship and his body was never recovered. ” (Source: Pardon Me For Asking)
Fr. Byles has been portrayed in films about the disaster three times. In the 1979 television movie S.O.S. Titanic, he was portrayed by Matthew Guinness. In the 1997 film, Titanic, he was portrayed by James Lancaster, reciting Revelation 21:4. Richard Basehart plays a thinly-disguised Byles in the 1953 film. His story is featured in a book written by Cady Crosby entitled A Titanic Hero: Thomas Byles. The book documents Byles’ early life, his years in ministry and his final hours onboard the RMS Titanic. (Wikipedia)
Learn more about Fr. Thomas Byles