Biographies

Father John W. Manning, MM

Born: December 8, 1926
Ordained: June 13, 1953
Died: May 3, 1983

Since Father John Manning was very appreciative of Roman traditions and knew the significance that the Church gives to the appearance of Christ to the Apostles for the life of the Church, he must be very pleased to share his life, on this Feast of the Apostles Philip and James, for the continued growth of the missionary Church.

Father Manning was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts on December 8, 1926, the son of John Manning and Mary Myers. At the age of seventeen he was accepted for the Venard by Bishop James E. Walsh, entering fourth year high school. At this time a Father Anthony Laverty wrote this about John: “John, himself, is most exemplary and his family is one of the best. I am sure he will prove a worthy and valuable addition to the Maryknoll community and to the holy priesthood.”

Being one of twenty-six, he was ordained on June the 13th, 1953. He was assigned to Rome for special studies at the Angelicum. He obtained his Doctorate in Canon Law in 1956. In 1954 he was appointed personal secretary to Cardinal Fumisone Biondi, the Prefect of Propaganda Fide. We are told that His Eminence, who was not necessarily one hundred percent in praise of his secretaries, had nothing but words of praise and gratitude for Father Manning. In 1956 he was named the Minutante for India and thus he began a long career with the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. When Cardinal Agagianian became the new Prefect in 1958 he retained John in his present position and also as a personal secretary.

In July 1970, because of his excellent priestly work for Propaganda, he was appointed by the Holy Father, Pope Paul VI, to the office of Rector of the pontifical Urban Theological College of Propaganda Fide. He retained this position for two years until he returned to the United States on sick leave.

In March, 1973, he was assigned to the Mexico Region where he was engaged in pastoral work. He was attached to this region until February, 1982, when he was assigned to the U.S. Region as Society Archivist.

During his lifetime John was praised many times as a very intelligent, sincere and earnest priest. His excellent character, along with his quiet unassuming ways, endeared him to the people with whom he worked at Propaganda Fide. His dedication to Maryknoll and to the cause of the missions enabled him to reach out, like the Apostles, to the peoples of the world.

The Wake Service took place May 4th, with Fr. Victor Schymeinsky officiating. The Biography was read by Fr. Patrick Donovan. Mass of Christian Burial followed the next day with Fr. Eugene Toland as Principal Concelebrant and Homily by Fr. Joseph Lang. Burial was at the Maryknoll Cemetery with Fr. James Noon conducting the graveside service.