Died 22 November 2013
Jesuit Father John McConnell died on Nov. 22, 2013, at Murray-Weigel Hall in Bronx, N.Y. He was 89 years old, a Jesuit for 72 years, and a priest for 58 years. He was born in New York on April 11, 1924, the son of Patrick and May (Baxter) McConnell.
He graduated from Regis High School in 1941 and entered the Society of Jesus that same year on July 30. His two years of novitiate were at St. Andrew-on- Hudson, in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where he pronounced his first vows on July 31, 1943. After two years of college studies there (1943-45), he proceeded to Woodstock College, in Woodstock, Md., for the study of philosophy.
For the next period of his Jesuit formation, his regency, he was assigned to Canisius High School, in Buffalo, N.Y., where he taught English to second year students. In preparation for priesthood he studied theology at Woodstock College from 1951 to 1954. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 18, 1955 at the Fordham University Chapel. From 1955 to 1956 he completed his final year of formation, tertianship, at Auriesville, N.Y.
His first assignment as a priest was back to Canisius High School where he taught Latin, English and math from 1956 to 1958. Then he taught math at Fordham Prep in the Bronx for five years from 1958 to 1963. In 1964 he began many years of parish ministry when he was assigned to pastoral ministry at Seven Springs, in Monroe, N.Y. until 1970, and from 1970 to 1973 assisting at the nearby Church of St. Mary's in Washingtonville, N.Y.
Continuing his priestly work he served as an associate pastor in several parishes in New York. Following a sabbatical year, he assisted at St. Aloysius Church in New York and then at St. Michael's Church in Buffalo from 1989 to 1992. From 1994 to 2005 he assisted at Our Lady of Refuge in the Bronx.
His homilies, always well prepared, to the point, and delivered with a strong voice, were very much appreciated and well received by the congregation. Several of his brief reflections were published in America magazine. He had some health issues, and these in turn drew him to special concern for, and ministry to the sick.
In 2006, he was assigned to the Jesuit infirmary at Murray-Weigel Hall and continued there in his assignment to pray for the Church and the Society.