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


Rest in peace: Father James Mangan; 65 years old

(From the , 2009 edition of the Inland Register)

Father James Mangan (IR file photo)

Father James Leo Mangan, ordained a priest for the Diocese of Spokane on April 12, 1969, died Jan. 11 after a short illness. He was 65 years old.

The vigil was scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph Church, 4521 N. Arden Rd., Otis Orchards, Wash. The funeral Mass was scheduled for the next morning, also at St. Joseph, at 10 a.m.

Father Mangan was born in Walla Walla on Feb. 20, 1943. He attended St. Patrick School in Walla Walla before his family moved to Spokane, where he attended St. Charles School before entering the seminary.

He first studied at Bishop White Seminary for his first two years of high school, and then attended Mount Angel Seminary, St. Benedict, Ore., for four years, before entering the major seminary program at St. Thomas in Kenmore, Wash.

He returned to St. Charles as an assistant pastor after ordination to priesthood. He was assistant pastor of Holy Family Parish, Clarkston for two years, before being named associate pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish, Spokane.

In 1976 Father Mangan was named pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, Oroville. He later served as pastor of Our Lady of the Valley, Okanogan, and also served the community of Omak, before becoming pastor of St. Joseph in Colbert.

In 1994 he moved to Sacred Heart Parish, Wilbur, and in 1996, to St. Joseph Parish, Otis Orchards.

He retired last July 1.

“I was blessed to be with him as he died from complications of an abdominal aneurism and cardiac arrest a few hours before,” said Bishop William Skylstad. “We express to his family our prayerful sympathy and thanks to God for the gift of his life and ministry amongst us.

“He was a faithful servant of the Lord, and even though retired from active ministry, he was still very active in using his skills. He was very knowledgeable about computer programs in parishes. Especially we will miss his priestly presence, but many parishes will also miss his assistance of technical help with their computer programs.”

Bishop Skylstad said that Father Mangan “had unusual skills of collaboratively working with parish staffs. He knew his role as a priest, but he also used and respected the gifts of people with whom he served in parish communities.”

The health challenges of his last were “were not easy for him,” said Bishop Skylstad. “Yet, he was man of faith, and as his health care directives indicated, he was very realistic about the complicated time of death, and asked that medical decisions be made accordingly.

“He strongly believed in the kingdom to come,” said the bishop. “May he and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.”

Msgr. John Steiner grew up in the same neighborhood as Father Mangan. They were classmates both in grade school and in the seminary.

The years of seminary formation “were the days of the Vatican II Council,” said Msgr. Steiner. Father Mangan “would give his best to make the Church a living thing, computers and all.”

As Bishop Skylstad said, Father Mangan was well-known and loved by parish staff throughout the diocese, particularly as he shared his computer expertise.

“His commitment to help parish staffs with their computer programs was his recent identity,” said Msgr. Steiner. As Father Mangan worked with parishes throughout Eastern Washington, “the secretaries loved him. He would never leave them abandoned. He loved to fix the programs and share a bit of food and a ton of gossip. He learned more about the parishes than the diocesan administration would ever know.”

Father Mangan, said Msgr. Steiner, “was a good brother to the priests” as well.


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