Father Vincent B. McConaughy, MM

Born: December 1, 1917
Ordained: June 10, 1945
Died: May 28, 1991

Father Vincent Bernard McConaughy died in his sleep in Lima on May 28, 1991. He was 73 and a half years old and 46 years as a Maryknoll priest.

Vincent Bernard was born in McKees Rock, Pennsylvania on December 14, 1917, son of Thomas and Margaret Powers McConaughy. He was the only boy among six sisters. He Received his early education in Pittsburgh. He had a God-given musical talent which influenced his whole life and ministry. After graduation from high school he played the piano in cocktail lounges and small night clubs; later playing in the orchestra for two summers on ocean cruisers and he toured northern Europe.

In 1936 Vincent began his studies for the priesthood at the Venard. He kept his companions entertained with his piano playing and everywhere he went he used this talent to bring joy to others. As a seminarian he attended St. Pius X School of Liturgical music at Fordham University. He was ordained on June 10th, 1945.

After ordination he was sent to the newly developed missions in Peru and served his entire 46 years of priesthood among the Aymara and Quechua Indians of the altiplano. He did not build any churches but certainly developed active communities of Christians among the people of many parishes. He taught music in San Ambrosio High School in Puno and then went to Juli as pastor of St. Francis Parish in Ayaviri. In the following years he served as pastor of parishes in Huancane, Taraco and Pusi. In 1978 he was placed in charge of a retreat house in Chucuito for a year. Lastly, he he served as the Director of the Quechua-speaking community in Liavine just outside of Puno, from 1979 to 1990. He received from the Peruvian Government the gold medal of the Order of the Sun in recognition of his dedication to the people of Peru. This is the highest decoration that government grants. He certainly was a unique priest, congenial and likeable, attractive to the natives among whom he worked. One of his favorite mission methods was to utilize the Indian musical and dance folklore and adapt it to teach the prayers and doctrine, as well as secular subjects, such as geography, mathematics and hygiene to both children and adults. His parish lay leaders were all taught to bear full responsibility for conducting services when the priest was not available.

One mission superior wrote of him: “By living out his vocation with childlike joy and simplicity Vinny has evangelized not only Quechueans but also Maryknollers who have accompanied him.” In 1980, when he was the senior Regional member of the Altiplano his superior noted that “the Region is grateful to Father McConaughy for both his example and service to the people and his openness to the development of the Region.” On the occasion of his 70th birthday, when faced with retirement, he chose to remain active in his mission and work among the people he loved.

Mass of Christian Burial was held in Lima and burial took place in the Maryknoll plot in Lima. At Maryknoll Center a Mass was offered by Fr. Raymond Finch as principal celebrant and Fr. Stephen Judd as Homilist.