Monsignor Grimes Biography

Msgr. J. Colby Grimes

Born in Columbus, Msgr. Grimes attended St. Francis de Sales High School in Toledo and transferred to Bishop Watterson High School for his senior year when his family moved back to Columbus in 1969. It was in that summer of 1969 when Colby volunteered his services as trainer of the varsity football team. He enjoyed the position and the players so much that he continued on as trainer for the next two years after graduating from Bishop Watterson and while attending Ohio Dominican College (now Ohio Dominican University). At that time, Colby said his goal was to become a priest and principal of Bishop Watterson High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Gregory’s Seminary, a master’s in education from Xavier University and a master’s in divinity from Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary, all in Cincinnati.

During his seminary years, he worked at St. Rita School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, in Cincinnati, where he began a lifelong ministry to the hearing impaired, including signing during masses broadcast on Sunday television in Columbus.

He was ordained to the priesthood on June 10, 1978 by Bishop Edward J. Herrmann and named a Monsignor on October 11, 1995 by Pope John Paul II.

After ordination, he was assigned full-time teaching duties at Bishop Ready High School, with residence at St. Agnes Parish. He then served as principal of Chillicothe Bishop Flaget High School from 1983 to 1986. He was a former pastor of St. Stephen’s, Holy Spirit, St. Andrew’s and the Church of the Resurrection.

An Eagle Scout and an attendee at Boy’s Nation during his younger years, he held many volunteer positions as a priest including: chaplain of Columbus City Council, Columbus Division of Police, the Shamrock Club of Columbus, and St. Charles Preparatory High School soccer team. After the tragic death of a Columbus firefighter, the fire chief asked Msgr. Grimes to help his firefighters through their emotional problems especially those who had tried to rescue the firefighter. Msgr. Grimes became part of a team of trained people known as the Columbus Critical Incident Stress Management Team. There now are similar teams throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. The men and women of the Fire Department had a special warm feeling for Msgr. Grimes for they knew how dedicated he was to them and the difference he had made. He never turned down a call for help and often took calls from troubled firefighters who needed to hear his wisdom and spiritual encouragement.

As Chaplain of the Shamrock Club of Columbus, his monthly messages in the Seanachai were an inspiration and provided the spiritual “food for thought” and guidance that we all need.

Msgr. Grimes remained compassionate and selfless even when suffering from leukemia and chemotherapy. He continued to administer to the sick and to the needs of his parishioners. Monsignor was a faith-filled servant of the Lord who served as a shining example especially in his illness. He would often say, “Remember, no matter what you go through, God is good – All The Time.”

(1) Portions of the information above were taken from a bio written by the Knights of Columbus, Monsignor J. Colby Grimes 4th Degree Assembly 3037