Biographies

Father Edward J. McGuinness, MM

Born: April 8, 1923
Ordained: June 11, 1949
Died: June 27, 1956

Edward J. McGuinness was born on April 8, 1923 in Newark, N.J. He attended high school at Seton Hall Prep School, college at Seton Hall University, and then Darlington, the archdiocesan seminary, for two years of Philosophy, before entering Maryknoll in September, 1944.

He was ordained on June 11, 1949 and was assigned to Guatemala. After language school he was appointed to the parish of Jacaltenango under Fr. Paul Sommer. The following year Father McGuinness was sent to the center house in Huehuetenango and later assigned to the parish of Quilco in 1952. While there he and Fr. McClear served 53,000 people and established a well-functioning catechetical system.

During his four years in Quilco much of his traveling was done on horseback, a means of transportation which was not without its dangers in the mountainous terrain of Guatemala. On one occasion Father had just dismounted his horse when the animal slipped and fell off a cliff. Another time, a drunken Indian wanted to throw Father off a narrow bridge to the rocks below. Fortunately, after a few anxious moments, Father was able to talk him out of it. On another occasion he was almost run out of town because he insisted that only practicing Catholics would be permitted to march in processions.

In December, 1955 Father McGuinness fell ill, but remained in Guatemala until March, when he returned to the United States for medical treatment. Returning on March 23, he was immediately admitted to St. Vincent’s Hospital and about two weeks later transferred to the New England Baptist Hospital.

In June his condition had improved sufficiently to enable him to take up residence with his brother Eugene in Newark. During that time he was able to make a visit to Maryknoll to see the seminary and to meet with classmates and friends.

Father Ed died on the morning of June 27, fortified by the Sacraments of the Church. The funeral Mass and burial took place at Maryknoll, New York with his classmates as ministers of the Mass.