Father James V. Manning, MM
Born: February 27, 1911
Ordained: June 16, 1935
Died: April 6, 1990
Father James Vincent Manning died on April 6, 1990 in Talca, Chile. He was 79 years of age and a Maryknoll Missioner for 54 years.
James Vincent was born on February 27, 1911 in Richmond Hill, New York, son of James Vincent Manning and Bertha Held. He was one of six children, of whom Father Edward, M.M. is now the sole survivor. Early education was in Richmond Hill, graduating from Holy Child Jesus Parochial School in 1924. Following a boyhood desire to be a priest and prompted by talks given at the school by visiting Maryknollers, James entered the Venard in September of that year. He was ordained at Maryknoll June 16, 1935.
His first assignment was to Kaying, S. China. However, during his first year there he contracted tuberculosis and was brought home to Glockner Sanitarium in Colorado Springs. Three years later he was assigned to St. Francis Xavier Mission in Los Angeles for 5 months in 1939 and then did development work in the San Francisco area. In 1941 he was named Chaplain at the Taos Hospital in the Santa Fe Diocese, New Mexico. A year later he was assigned to Talca, Chile, where he served for the next 47 years. Father Manning made good progress in Spanish and was assigned an Assistant Pastor at the Cathedral Parish in Talca. He there started a night industrial school for workers called the Instituto Leon XIII. This became his principal apostolate for the next 15 years, as the school gradually developed into a sort of Boys’ Town. His superior wrote of him: “I don’t believe any other Maryknoller in Chile could have done it as well. He is what the Chileans call ‘muy simpatico’ and has won their friendship and cooperation to a greater extent than any of us. Also, his work is of great benefit not only to the Church in Talca but to the rest of Chile, too. It is the sort of work that should be done everywhere and he is showing the way. He makes an excellent impression on all sorts of people and is highly regarded by both civil and ecclesiastical authorities in Talca.”
When the Boys’ Town was closed in 1958 Fr. Manning was moved to San Juan de Dios Parish in Santiago, where he did excellent work as Assistant and then Pastor. While on furlough in 1961 he engaged in cursillo work with migrant Spanish-speaking people in Lansing, Michigan. Returning to Chile he went to Huacipato Parish as Assistant Pastor. Another superior wrote of him: “He is settled in his job and quite content. He wins friends with ease… is greatly attracted to the poor and troubled… has great comprehension of peoples’ hardships, has a good sense of humor and gets along well with all.”
After furlough in 1967 Father James returned to Chile and was named Assistant Pastor in Parroquia San Vicente de Paul in Chillan. His knowledge of and interest in the cursillo movement helped him a great deal in his workshops among poor college students and in a vocational group of young women with whom he worked. After a sick leave in 1981 he returned “home to Chile” as he expressed it, in December of 1982 in fairly good health. He took up residence in Asuncion Parish, Talcahuano. He kept busy with his sacramental ministry, as well as maintaining a broad range of informal contacts with many people he had come to know over the years, and new people he met in the parish.
On January 29, 1985 Father Manning was enrolled in the Special Society Unit with residence in Chile. In his retirement he lived happily with a lay institute group of women which he had founded. For the past year he lived at the home of a very dear friend in Talca.
Wake services were held in the Cathedral Church in Talca. Mass of Christian Burial was the next day with the Regional Superior, Fr. Thomas P. Henahan, as principal celebrant: Fr. Richard Sammon giving the Homily. The burial took place in the Mausoleum of the Diocese of Talca. A Memorial Mass was offered at Maryknoll, with his brother Father Edward, as principal celebrant.