Monsignor James W. Peterson

  • "I visited Mount Savior Monastery in your Honor Fr. Pete. I..."
    - Wayne Seitz
  • "Father Pete, I am blessed that you baptized me and my twin..."
    - Michael Lane
  • "Hope you are enjoying heaven Pete. I'm sure the Good Lord..."
    - joe wesley

Monsignor James W. Peterson, 89, of Erie, passed away Monday, May 13, 2013 at his residence. He was born on November 14, 1923 a son of the late Cornelius J. and Gertrude Ward Peterson. Monsignor Peterson attended St. John's Parochial School, Erie; Cathedral Prep and Gannon College, Erie; Saint Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, Catholic University in Washington, D.C. and did further graduate work at Western Reserve University and Notre Dame. He was ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood on May 15, 1947 by Bishop John Mark Gannon. Monsignor Peterson's first assignment was to Blessed Sacrament Church, Erie and then to Gannon College from 1947-1975. While at Gannon, he taught English for seven years, and was appointed Director of Religious Activities and Chairman of the Theology Department. He was also a resident Chaplain at Wehrle Hall and Moderator of the Saint Thomas More Club. While at Gannon, he additionally served as Chaplain at the Erie County Prison, as Diocesan Vocations Director, and was instrumental in bringing to Erie the Christian Family Movement, the Foundation for International Cooperation, the Serra Club and the Cursillo Movement. He was also Spiritual Director at Saint Mark's Seminary. In 1975 he was named pastor of St. Teresa Parish in Union City. In addition to his pastoral work, he founded Maria House Project, a non-profit corporation which continues to provide small group living for men in need of growth in community for healing from drug and alcohol addiction, from the effects of imprisonment, and from homelessness. He also helped to establish the Avila House retreat center in Union City. In 1985, Monsignor Peterson took up residence at St. Stephen of Hungary Church, Erie and was assigned to special ministry to the marginalized. In this capacity, he worked in Catholic Charities especially in Spiritual Counseling. He served as the head of the Diocesan Office of Special Ministries and Trustee of Maria House Project, which today includes six houses with thirty to thirty-five residents, and the Greg Leopold Prayer Center. From 1992-1995 he served as chaplain to the Holy Family Monastery, Erie. He was well known as a lecturer, retreat director, spiritual director and friend to the almost friendless. He authored several books including "Leisure of the Holy Spirit," "More I Could Not Ask" and "The Sweep of Saint John's Gospel." He was preceded in death by his siblings, Sister Gertrude Marie, SSJ, John C. and Robert J. Peterson, his sisters-in-law, Jacqueline, Mary and Dorothy Peterson. He is survived by brothers, Paul Ward Peterson, Ph.D. and Thomas L. Peterson, sisters-in-law, Virginia and Jean Peterson and fifteen nieces and nephews. Friends may call on Thursday, May 16 at St. Peter Cathedral, 230 West 10th St., Erie, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. with the public invited to attend a Vigil Service at 7:30 p.m. in St. Peter Cathedral. Visitation will continue Friday morning from 10 a.m. until the time of the Funeral Mass at 1:30 p.m., which will be celebrated by the Most Reverend Lawrence T. Persico, JCL, Bishop of Erie. Burial will be in St. Teresa's Cemetery in Union City. The Francis V. Kloecker Funeral Home, Inc., 2502 Sassafras St. Erie, PA. 16502 is in charge of arrangements. Send condolences to In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Maria House Project, PO Box 10682, Erie, PA. 16514.

Funeral Home
Francis V. Kloecker Funeral Home, Inc. - Erie
2502 Sassafras St.  Erie, PA 16502
814 454 0156
Funeral Home Details
Published in the Erie Times-News on May 15, 2013
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