Father John J. Massoth, MM
Born: November 25, 1885
Ordained: June 2, 1917
Died: March 9, 1919
John J. Massoth, a native of Kansas, was born in Piqua on November 25, 1885. He had his early education in the public school and at St. Martin’s parochial school there. He first wrote to Maryknoll in 1913 to find out about entrance requirements. But he was slow to make up his mind because he wanted to be sure he was doing God’s will. Two years later he made his decision and was accepted by Maryknoll. He spent those two years of his uncertainty at Louvain, Belgium where he attained a deep understanding of the French language and customs and also completed two years of Theology. He was accepted by Father James A. Walsh in 1915. He spent a short part of his last two years before ordination at the Venard. During those two years John never seemed to be in really good health but his condition was never serious enough to cause him to be dropped.
Father Massoth was ordained at Maryknoll on June 2, 1917. His first and last assignment was not to the Orient, as he had expected, but rather to teach at the Venard. He soon came to love his new home and work. In the following spring the war in Europe reached its peak. Because of his love for America and his extensive knowledge of French, he made known his wish to become a chaplain in France. Father Walsh, however, thought he would best serve God by remaining at his teaching duties.
In February, 1919 fell ill and on March 9, 1919 he died at Maryknoll. He was the first Maryknoll priest to go to his reward. At the request of his aged parents he was buried near his home in Piqua, Kansas.
Father Massoth’s life with Maryknoll was indeed a short one. His consecrated fingers had been able to distribute the Bread of Life for only two years when God called him to Himself. He had decided early in life that the whole motivation for all his actions would be doing God’s will.