Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302


the Inland Register

(From the Jan. 18, 2007 edition of the Inland Register)

Father James McDonough SJ

Father James Michael McDonough, 58 years a Jesuit and 45 years a Roman Catholic priest, died of multiple afflictions Dec. 19 in the Jesuit Province infirmary on the Gonzaga University campus, where he had lived for the past nine years. He was 78 years old.

The rosary was recited for him Dec. 21 at Jesuit House Chapel, Gonzaga University. The funeral Mass was celebrated there the next morning. Burial followed the funeral, at Mt. St. Michael’s Cemetery, Spokane.

Born to Michael Francis McDonough and his wife Mae Elizabeth McLean in 1928, he along with his brothers and sisters attended St. Joseph Grade School on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. He graduated from Seattle Prep in 1945.

After brief stints at St. Mary’s, Managua, the U.S. Army of Occupation in Japan and several quarters at Seattle University, he entered the Society of Jesus at Sheridan, Ore., in 1948.

Never much interested in formal studies, he found the years leading to ordination arduous. To fend off the boredom and dark Irish moods, he read widely in various fields of history and a good amount of serious fiction. He spent many years as a high school administrator and counselor in places as diverse as Jesuit High School in Portland and St. Martin in Rapid City, S.D.

Though assigned to work in parishes on several occasions, he preferred the pastoral and priestly to the administrative role. Arguably his first love was retreat work, which took him as far afield as South Africa and Saskatchewan.

His gruff exterior proved to be a small barrier to close and lasting friendships. He had numerous friends scattered around the Northwest and beyond, with whom he could take up after four or five or more years as though there had never been a break since the last time they had met or talked.

His gifts were many; his piety deep, and this was evident as his community and friends surrounded him during his final illness.

Donations in memory of Father McDonough may be sent to the Jesuit Senior Fund, Society of Jesus, Oregon Province, P.O. Box 86010, Portland, OR 97286.

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