Monsignor John J. O'Brien

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  • "To Monsignor O'Brien's family, Thank You, for giving him to..."
  • "St. Peter's Church in Wellsboro, Pa stands as an enduring..."
    - Don Hayden
  • "Uncle Jack, you were an inspiration and example to all your..."
    - Hugh O'Brien
  • "The loss of someone so close is difficult to bear. We..."
  • "Oh, Monsignor! Thank you for so graciously and lovingly..."
    - Christine Griffin
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Monsignor John J. O'Brien, pastor emeritus of St. Paul's Church, Scranton, and a resident of Green Ridge Health Care Center, died Sunday.

Monsignor O'Brien, son of the late Hugh and Carrie Helring O'Brien, was born in Scranton on Feb. 21, 1916. He was a graduate of St. Patrick's High School, Scranton, and St. Thomas College — now the University of Scranton. Monsignor O'Brien pursued his studies for the priesthood at St. Bernard's Seminary in Rochester, N.Y., and completed his training for the priesthood at the American College, Louvain, Belgium; Collegio Brignole, Genoa, Italy; and St. Bonaventure Seminary, Olean, N.Y. He was ordained on Feb. 28, 1942, in St. Peter's Cathedral, Scranton, by the Most Rev. William J. Hafey, D.D., late Bishop of Scranton.

After ordination, he served as assistant pastor of Holy Saviour, Wilkes-Barre, from 1942-45; St. John the Evangelist, Pittston, from 1945-52; and Annunciation Parish, Williamsport, from 1952-61. Monsignor O'Brien received his first pastoral assignment on Oct. 11, 1961, to St. Thomas Parish, Elkland. On Dec. 15, 1966, he was named pastor of St. Peter's, Wellsboro. On Sept. 4, 1973, he was named pastor of St. Paul's, Scranton, where he remained until his retirement and appointment as pastor emeritus on July 7, 1992. After two years of retirement, Monsignor O'Brien accepted an assignment as administrator of St. Francis in Scranton on Nov. 15, 1994.

Monsignor O'Brien served as advocate and procurator, and defender of the bond in the diocesan tribunal. He was made a chaplain of his holiness by Pope Paul VI on May 19, 1968, and Pope John Paul II elevated him to a Prelate of Honor on Nov. 2, 1978. He was a member of the liturgical commission and was appointed acting director of Villa St. Joseph. He also served as a chaplain of the Serra Club of Scranton since 1976.

He served as president of the board of pastors of Bishop Hannan High School — formerly Cathedral High School — Scranton, for 10 years. He also was the chaplain for the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus. He was a member of the Senate of Priests and Diocesan Board of Consultors.

Monsignor O'Brien is survived by a sister, Ann T. O'Brien Kuchar and husband, Daniel, Scranton; several nieces, nephews and cousins.

He also was preceded in death by three brothers, William, Hugh and Frances; and two sisters, Catherine O'Brien Haggerty and Jean O'Brien Haggerty.

Viewing will take place at St. Paul's Church, 1510 Penn Ave., Scranton, on Wednesday, from 2 to 6:30 p.m. A vigil Mass will be celebrated at St. Paul's Church, Scranton, at 7 p.m., with Monsignor William J. Feldcamp, Dean, presiding.

A Pontifical Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by the Most Rev. James C. Timlin, D.D., bishop emeritus of Scranton, on Thursday at 11 a.m. in St Paul's Church. Viewing will also take place Thursday morning, prior to the 11 a.m. funeral Mass. Interment will be in St. Catherine's Cemetery, Moscow.
Published in Scranton Times on Dec. 28, 2009