Father James Canova Retires
July 6, 2023
ROCKFORD—Father James C. Canova, most recently parochial vicar at St. Rita Parish in Rockford, retired on June 30.
 
Born in Chicago to Carl and Dolores (Stankus) Canova, he studied at Lane Teen High School there (1972-1976) and Northeastern University (1976-77), Wilbur Wright Jr. College (1978-1982). He earned a bachelor of science degree in accounting from the University of Illinois (1982-1984) and an MBA from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb (1993). He then studied for the priesthood and earned a Master of Divinity degree at Mount St. Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. (1996-2001).
 
He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Thomas G. Doran on May 19, 2001, at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Rockford.
 
Father Canova first served as parochial vicar at St. Bridget Parish, Loves Park, also teaching religion at Boylan Central Catholic High School (2001-2003). After a short health leave of absence, he was parochial vicar at St. Mary Parish, Elgin (2004-2007).
 
He then served for about six months as the administrator at St. Mary Parish, Elizabeth, and St. John the Evangelist Parish, Hanover (2007-2008) and as Knights of Columbus #10212 chaplain. 
 
He later served as parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish, Freeport, (2009-2010) as well as parochial vicar at St. Catherine of Siena Parish, West Dundee, and St. Mary Parish, Gilberts (2010-2014).
 
Additionally, he was the Elgin Deanery Council of Catholic Women spiritual advisor (2012-2015).
 
Father Canova was parochial vicar at Holy Angels Parish, Aurora (2014-2018), then parochial vicar at St. John Neumann Parish in St. Charles (2018-2019), assisting at parishes for about five months in 2019.
 
He served as parochial vicar at St. Peter Parish, South Beloit, and Church of the Holy Spirit in Roscoe (2019-2020), before becoming parochial vicar at St. Rita Parish in Rockford in August, 2020.
 
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