Rev. John J. McGinty S.J.
The Rev. John J. McGinty, a former provincial of the 1,150 man Province of the Society of Jesus, died yesterday at New York Hospital after a long illness. He was 63years old and a resident of Jersey City.
For two years, from 1958 to 1960, Father Piderit was the rector of the St. Ignatius Loyola 83rd Street complex in New York, as well as pastor of the Sy. Ignatius Loyola Parish on 84th Street.
Rev. McGinty was born Dec. 7, 1913 in Brooklyn, New York. The Jesuit was a graduate of Fordham College and a member of the Society for 41 years and an ordained priest for 30 years.
From 1948 to 1953 he served as a professor of philosophy at St. Peter’s College in Jersey City and from 1954 to 1958 he was secretary and assistant to the provincial of the New York Province.
He served as provincial in New York from 1960 to 1966, the years of Vatican II and a period of profound change in the Roman Catholic Church and the Society of Jesus.
In 1966, he went to Jersey City to become pastor of St. Peter’s Parish, a post he held until shortly before his death. He passed away on September 30, 1976.
At the time, Father McGinty was survived by a brother, Jerome (Jay) and two sisters, Kathleen McGinty and Mary Piderit.
In 2020 on the anniversary of Fr. Jack’s death in 1976, Ann Piderit Gibbs (his niece) sent out an email to the family members to share memories they had of Fr. Jack. Below are the responses.
Ann wrote: I found Fr. Jack’s Mass card in my dresser recently. Thought you would enjoy. I have fond memories of him. On Christmas we always had to wait until he arrived before we were allowed to enter the living room to see our gifts. I believe he baptized all of us and he officiated at our wedding (’72) and probably others. Fr. Jack loved his peanuts as I recall and Mother would also supply him with Chesse-its with peanut butter for his parish gatherings.
Mary Alanah wrote: Yes , those are wonderful memories of him! He visited us often and always shared his genuine joy as our uncle, priest, leader, inspiration to us all. He loved to visit us and we loved having him come so often!!!
I recall the difficult visits to us at Breezy when we watched him getting into his car. He would have to Lift his leg into the car because his strength was running out. and like you, I remember visiting him with Mother st NY Hospital when he looked so small in the bed and as you wrote when we attended Aunt Mary’s funeral at St Ignatius he was so very thin and weak! But what a role model for all especially in very difficult times for the church!
He had a great gift of making each of us feel special wherever we were in the family! I loved his many visits to us Breezy and Richmond Hill. I also loved the way he always called Grandma McGinty “Queenie” And Mother always brought out the treats when Fr Jack arrived for a visit.
Fred, John, Connie and I were present for his ordination even though we were very young at the time! When it came time to receive First Communion, I believe John, Connie and I received it together from Fr. Jack.
Whether we were in Richmond Hill or Breezy, he always came for a visit! Do you remember the Christmas when we lived on 84th Ave in RH and we were
Told to look out in front of our house because Santa had sent us a special surprise? Someone drove up in a handsome new black Station Wagon. Fr Jack got out on the driver’s side delivering this surprise to the family!
I am sure you too have wonderful memories of him
In our lives! We were blessed to have him with us and still cherish all the memories he shared with us!
Fred wrote: Mary I have hazy recollections of the actual arrival of Fr Jack with the new car (it is difficult/impossible/tricky) to separate out the vestiges of the actual experience from the family oral traditions of repeating ritualistically certain key events.
As I recall that particular episode, the new car was the “woody” Ford station wagon. It was the family car that followed the demise of the Lasalle (c. 1949?). What I remember most was the wait, noses against the cold window panes of the unheated front porch, which we rarely used during the winter months except for the new Christmas bike and such.
As the family grew, we waited more. We waited to get to Putnam Avenue for a holiday visit (“Dad when are we goin’ to get there?”), we waited for Dad to arrive at the circle on Friday nights, we waited to go down to the water after naps, we waited until everyone was ready for whatever!
Joie wrote: I have a vivid memory of Fr. Jack’s wake and funeral. I had never seen so many priests before and music was great. At the wake, I got stuck talking to Arthur Cavanagh about cats for a really long time. I think he had cat hair on his blazer and I couldn’t stop starring at it. Also, today is the feast of Saint Jerome, one of the doctors of the church and one of my favorite paintings by El Greco – its Saint Jerome – and he looks like he just spent the last 15 years translating the bible.
Thanks for sharing the memories and observations and refreshing some of my own, including:
– Fr. Jack loved to have that little bowl of salted peanuts next to him as Ann points out. I can see him sitting in the living room in Richmond Hill, legs crossed exposing high black socks, perfectly stretched out, with shiny black shoes.
– Driving along Delancy St. and thru the Holland Tunnel on our way to St. Peter’s for an annual parish event where Ed and I were allowed to serve drinks from behind the bar. It was probably just soda but no matter, it was still very cool. It might have been a party for the parish staff, not sure.
– Visiting Fr. Jack in the hospital in that September of 1976 as a senior at Xavier, all proud of myself as I donned my new garrison belt as a senior officer in the Xavier regiment and being taken back by how thin and frail Fr. Jack was at that point, laying in his hospital bed. The pain he must have been suffering thru but you wouldn’t have known it while visiting with him.
Fred added: Yes, Fr. Jack was such a central presence of our childhood yet in many important ways we came to know him after he left us in 1976. Yet, this is why we celebrate such anniversaries. His death came at a difficult time for Mother. Aunt Mary, Francis recalls attending her funeral, had died six months before.
Ann, I remember vividly the peanuts because he had the McGinty hooked thumb which forcibly impressed us as children, and he loved his handful of peanuts. He was always the hit of the party for us with his good humor, his easy way, and the interest that he took in his nieces and nephews. Despite his illness, I know for sure that your visits to him, Francis and Tom, had made his day!
His tenure as Provincial of New York was important to him and he gave his all to that responsibility at a time, as Francis said, that turned out to be a moment of transition for the Society. On the one had, he had Dan Berrigan whose activism regarding Vietnam and Black Americans challenged his “old fashioned ways.” Father Dan Berrigan and his brother Phil were, as you might expect, heroes for many young scholastic Jesuits at Shrub Oak. Father Dan Berrigan often found a retreat at Shrub Oak, but, Francis, I agree that there was a lot of tension between the two viewpoints of the Berrigan mission.
What I recall most strongly was Father Jack’s openness to his fellow Jesuits which, in a way, may have been his great frustration during the Berrigan years. For example, he often spoke with us about *Bro” his driver (at the time, the Jesuits had priests and brothers who provided service and support to the priests). I don’t recall at the moment Bro’s name, but Jack was effusive in his praise of Bro’s driving and patience. A story that sticks in my memory was the one about the bott’s dots. This technology had recently been installed on the “Hutch” and Father Jack, exceptionally, was driving himself after a busy day back to Fordham at night where the provincial lived. Suddenly, he was startled! The bump, bump, bump that he had been dreaming about awakened him and he regained control of his car. He had drifted off, but the bott’s dots (those little round implants between lanes) had dragged him back to consciousness as a driver. More than the agency of the botts dots, he regretted, with a hearty laugh of relief, not having the faithful support of Bro!
As Tom recalls, his career as a Jesuit administrator ended as it began at St. Peter’s Parish in Jersey City, and he was completely contented. He loved it as you might imagine. True, he enjoyed his earlier tenure at Loyola parish, but he belonged to the parishioners of St Peter’s and would have delighted in the Morrisons’ experiences at the Prep.
One of the great treasures of our family heritage are the photographs of Jack and Edward at 271 with his father enjoying the sea airs and each other. He loved the beach and knew it from infancy.