Father James E. McVeigh, 70, a retired former pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Collingdale, died Aug. 8.
Born in Philadelphia the son of the late James H. McVeigh and the late Helen G. (McCoy) McVeigh, he attended Corpus Christi School and Cardinal Dougherty High School before entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.
He was ordained May 19, 1973 at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul by Cardinal John Krol and his first assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Matthew Parish, Conshohocken. He also served as parochial Vicar at St. Maria Goretti, Hatfield; St. Luke the Evangelist, Glenside; St. Joseph the Worker, Fallsington; St. David, Willow Grove; St. Barnabas, Philadelphia and St. Andrew, Drexel Hill.
He was appointed pastor of St. Joseph in 2000 retired in 2010.
Bishop Edward Deliman, who was a seminary classmate, remembers Father McVeigh “as a priest who really knew priestly fraternity and encouraged it in so many other priests.”
“He had a good sense of humor, rejoiced in the good fortune of others and was never envious,” Bishop Deliman said. “He was a wonderful priest and his life meant a great deal.”
If Bishop Deliman knew Father McVeigh from way back, Msgr. Richard Bolger only became well acquainted with him in recent times as a fellow priest at Regina Coeli House, a residence for retired clergy.
“He was my next door roommate,” Msgr. Bolger said. “He was really thoughtful, keeping touch with his friends, sending thoughtful notes when they were sick. It may be his Irish heritage.”
It also may be because of that Irish heritage that Father McVeigh’s casket was green. The funeral was celebrated on Aug. 12 at Our Lady of Hope Church on North Broad Street in Philadelphia. That’s where he celebrated his first Mass in 1973 when it was still Holy Child Church.
The celebrant of the funeral Mass was Bishop Joseph Martino, who also preached at Father McVeigh’s first Mass. He was a young priest only three years ordained, but he and Father McVeigh grew up in the same neighborhood and were life-long friends.
Concelebrants at the Mass included Bishop Deliman, Harrisburg Bishop Ronald Gainer, who was also a St. Charles classmate, Norbertine Father William Trader and Father Joseph Shenosky, who was the homilist.
“I was a seminarian on summer assignment to St. Andrew, Drexel Hill, when I first met him,” Father Shenosky said. “He was larger than life, had a grand sense of humor.
“The great lesson I learned through him was the value of priestly fraternity. He loved to cook and would have grand dinner parties for his priest-friends. And a great virtue was, he had no envy. If a classmate was named monsignor or bishop he was on the phone telling everyone he was so proud of them, you would think it was himself.”
Father McVeigh is survived by his sisters, Kathy R. Casey, Mary A. McVeigh; his brother Joseph and many nieces and nephews.
Interment was at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery and Garden Mausoleum, Philadelphia.
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Father Jim McVeigh will be missed! He was a kindly gentleman. I had the privilege of serving Mass for him many times at St. Matthew’s parish in Conshohocken. His wonderful sense of humor, his constancy and graceful sensitivity were an inspiration to many of us at St. Matt’s. I owe much of my faith and love of liturgy to him.He taught us to be joyful and caring. Rest well, dear mentor! May we carry on your cheerful loving kindness!