Biographies

Father John A. McGinn, MM

Born: July 5, 1906
Ordained: February 1, 1931
Died: June 5, 1983

Father John McGinn, who celebrated his Golden Anniversary of the priesthood in 1981 and who has served Maryknoll for fifty-two years, was in many ways an excellent and model priest, friendly, sociable, prayerful, and a gracious gentleman. We are most sorry to lose him as a member of the Maryknoll Family.

On Sunday morning, June 5th, at the age of seventy-six, Father McGinn died at the residence of his aunt in Providence, Rhode Island. On that Sunday morning he was to have celebrated Mass for the Sisters at St. Mary’s Parish in Providence. Just before his death he attended the yearly retreat at the Center.

Father McGinn was born in Providence, Rhode Island on the 5th of July, 1906 to James McGinn and Mary Cummings. After having finished two years at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts, he was accepted for Maryknoll by Father James Anthony Walsh in 1925. At the time of his acceptance he received a beautiful tribute by a Father Colligan, S.J.: “He is a young man of excellent character and I am sure you will find in him everything that could be desired of an aspirant to the priesthood in your Society.” He was ordained to the priesthood on February 1, 1931.

Father John had a long missionary career. In April of 1931 his first assignment was to Kongmoon, China. Ten years later he was assigned to promotional work. He went to Lima, Peru to work with the Chinese community in October, 1942. After a few years he was again assigned to China and in 1952 he returned to the United States to do parish work in St. Louis. In February, 1953 he joined the Hawaii Region until he was assigned to Bedford in September, 1963. He also worked at Hingham and since 1974 he has been helping out in Providence. In 1979 he was assigned to the Special Society Unit.

Father McGinn, following in the footsteps of many Maryknoll Missioners, was mostly concerned about the people wherever he worked. He had a great distaste for paper work which is an on-going characteristic of hard-working missioners who dedicate themselves first of all to their people and lastly to the keeping of records.

On June 7th a Wake Service took place at Monahan’s Funeral Home in Providence. A Funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Mary’s Church, Providence (Father had celebrated his First Mass there). The Wake at Maryknoll was on Wednesday evening with Father James Weckesser officiating and Father John Corcoran reading the Biography. Mass of Christian Burial was on June 9th. Bishop John Comber was Principal Concelebrant and the Homily was by Father Robert Sheridan. Burial followed with Father John Halbert officiating at the graveside.

We can never fully appreciate the spiritual riches that are gained for the Society when a fellow member has reached the end of his earthly pilgrimage.