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


Franciscan Father Alan McCoy, Spokane native, died Oct. 15

the Inland Register

(From the Nov. 12, 2009 edition of the Inland Register)

Father Alan McCoy OFM (IR photo courtesy of the Santa Barbara Province)

Franciscan Father Alan McCoy, a native of Spokane, died Oct. 15 after 67 years as a member of his Religious order.

The vigil service for Father Alan took place Oct. 19 in the Friars’ Chapel at Old Mission Santa Barbara, Calif. The funeral Mass was celebrated in the Mission Church there the next day. Interment followed in the friars’ vaults at the Mission.

He was born in 1913 and entered the Franciscans in 1932. He professed solemn vows in four years later, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1938.

In 1944, Father Alan received a Doctorate in canon law from Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, and taught at the Franciscan Theological Seminary in Santa Barbara, CA. In 1966 he was elected President of the Canon Law Society of America. He later used his knowledge of canon law to assist singer and song writer John Michael Talbot in forming a Religious community, the Brothers and Sisters of Charity.

In 1955, Father Alan became pastor at St. Mary Church, Stockton, Calif. Over the next 12 years, he worked closely with the Latino community, serving as Vice President and Regional Coordinator of the National Council for the Spanish Speaking (now known as La Raza).

He was particularly drawn to justice and peace issues. He counseled Cesar Chavez on the social teachings of the Catholic Church and traveled the world representing a number of international human rights commissions. He promoted human rights in Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador, and concelebrated Mass with Archbishop Oscar A. Romero the day before the archbishop was murdered.

He was elected three times to the governing board of the Franciscan Province of St. Barbara, was Provincial Minister from 1967-1973 and President of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men from 1976-1982. Very Reverend John S. Hardin, OFM, head of the Saint Barbara Province (western United States), called Father Alan “a pioneer in helping bring about the implementation of the mandates of Vatican II. He was a man of deep faith and personal integrity while leading the Franciscan Province of Saint Barbara through the exciting but difficult times in the 1960s and ’70s.”

According to Franciscan Brother Timothy Arthur, the community’s archivist, “Father Alan kept a tight schedule. One day he would be in El Salvador, the next giving a retreat to some Sisters in Illinois, and the next week off to Rome, then to Haiti, and back to Rome, then back to St. Josephs in L.A. where he would take the Mass at the county jail.

“And then he’d start all over again the next day!”


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