Msgr. John P. McDonough, Maj Gen USAF (Ret) age 93, passed away on Nov. 17, 2021 at the Regina Cleri Residence for Retired Priests in Boston. Born in Boston, he was raised in Dorchester, attended St. Peter’s Elementary School and graduated from Boston College High School in 1945. He began his studies at St. John’s Seminary midway through his Senior year at BC High.
Upon his graduation from the Seminary, Fr. McDonough was ordained by Richard Cardinal Cushing at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on January 10, 1952. He then served as a curate in various parishes from January 1952 to May 1963. In May of 1963, Fr. McDonough entered active military service as an Air Force Chaplain beginning a 28-year career.
In those early years, against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, Fr. John and his fellow Chaplains spearheaded the Air Force effort to provide pastoral and material support for the thousands of families of those servicemen deployed to South East Asia and throughout the globe. He continued to focus on the well-being of military families in the course of completing challenging assignments both in the United States and overseas.
In 1985, Fr. McDonough was promoted to Brigadier General when he became Deputy Chief of Chaplains. In December 1988, he was promoted to Major General as he became Chief of Chaplains, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. As a key advisor to the Air Force Chief of Staff, he provided guidance on all matters that pertain to the religious and moral welfare of Air Force personnel and their families. He was also responsible for establishing an effective total chaplain program that met the religious needs of all members of the Air Force. Major General McDonough retired from the Air Force on December 1, 1991.
Upon his return to the Archdiocese, Fr. John was assigned to St. John’s Church in Peabody, serving as Pastor for more than a decade. In 2002, following a sabbatical, he volunteered to be the Pastor at St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church in Middleton. Fr. John was named a Prelate of Honor by Pope John Paul and given the title “Reverend Monsignor”; he was then named a Protonotary Apostolic, the highest grade of monsignor outside of Rome. In 2003, he retired from parish life and served as the Interim Cabinet Secretary for Faith Formation & Evangelization in the Archdiocese on the staff of Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley.
In January of 2010, the Archdiocese of Boston announced the formation of the Office of Pastoral Support and Child Protection, a newly established department which Integrated the important pastoral ministries of Pastoral Support and Outreach, Child Advocacy and Background Screening. Msgr. McDonough was appointed priest liaison to the Office of Professional Standards and Oversight.
In his remaining years, prior to becoming a resident of Regina Cleri, Msgr. McDonough was assigned as Chaplain to his fellow priests who lived at the facility acting as a spiritual counselor and seeing to the needs of his fellow brethren. He was much beloved by the staff and residents of the facility. He passed away peacefully on Wednesday, November 17th surrounded in prayer and love.
Beloved son of the late Delia (Lydon) and John McDonough. Brother of Barbara Allen of Duxbury, Helen McDonough of Plymouth, Thomas McDonough of North Tazewell, VA, and the late Mary Tarpey. Also survived by many beloved nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a concelebrated Funeral Mass at St. Elizabeth’s Church 350 Reedsdale Rd Milton Thursday December 2nd at 10 am. His Eminence Cardinal Seán O’Malley will be the Principal Celebrant. Live streaming of the service will be available at https://www.visitationmilton.org/live-stream. Visiting hours will be held at St. Elizabeth’s Church Wednesday December 1st from 2-8 pm. Burial in Milton Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to Clergy Retirement Trust Fund at Clergytrust.org.
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