Rev Charles H. McTague

Rev Charles H. McTague

Birth
Buffalo, Erie County, New York, USA
Death 13 Jan 2007 (aged 87)
New Jersey, USA
Burial Upper Montclair, Essex County, New Jersey, USA
Memorial ID 19424536 · View Source
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Peace Activist; Author; Discoverer of the grave of Pierre Toussaint.
A merchant seaman-turned-priest, and legendary chaplain of Port Newark, "Father Charlie" McTague ("Charlie Chaplain" as he jokingly referred to himself) touched thousands of lives in his ministries on land and sea. Working with Israeli pacifist Abie Nathan, he sailed the "Peace Ship" from New York to the Middle East, broadcasting messages of non-violence in Hebrew and Arabic from 1969 until 1972. He also traveled extensively in China and the former Soviet Union during the Cold War era, and his discovery that Russian children loved "Tom Sawyer" inspired him to write a parallel tale for American children, set in Russia. Although his "Bernard Overall" never achieved the renown of Twain's classic, it struck a chord with many young readers. McTague's passion for mutual understanding once brought him to the door of Albert Einstein, an avowed atheist, and the brilliant scientist and the affable man of faith enjoyed discussing the invisible world in the former's Princeton home.
Born in Buffalo, New York, McTague was raised in Montclair, NJ, but left home at 16 to go to sea. Although he entered the seminary several years later, and would earn advanced degrees in social work and economics from universities in the US and Canada, he remained a sailor and retained his membership in the Seafarers' Union for the rest of his life. As a youth he had developed close ties with the local Black community, and as a seminarian was inspired to find the remains of Pierre Toussaint, a former slave and current candidate for sainthood who was then buried in the churchyard of Old St. Patrick's in Lower Manhattan. Undaunted by the loss of relevant church records to a fire and the illegibility of the old gravestones, he worked in the rain, photographing the reflections of the inscriptions in a mirror. He was subsequently able to distinguish the letters ..SAINT on the film, and Toussaint's body was exhumed, identified, and removed to the crypt at St. Patrick's Cathedral on 5th Avenue. Years later, when the Peace Ship began listing during a storm at sea, he invoked the holy man's aid, and attributed the immediate relief that followed to his intercession. In addition to his seafaring chaplaincy, McTague served as pastor of the African-American parish, St. Peter Claver, in Montclair, NJ, and established a variety of successful outreach programs for young people, alcoholics, and various immigrant groups. Known as an unforgettable character, Father Charlie, who died at the age of 87, habitually introduced himself to everyone he met as "the happiest man in the world". (Bio by Nikita Barlow)


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  • Created by: Nikita Barlow
  • Added: 17 May 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 19424536
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Rev Charles H. McTague (9 Jan 1920–13 Jan 2007), Find A Grave Memorial no. 19424536, citing Immaculate Conception Cemetery, Upper Montclair, Essex County, New Jersey, USA ; Maintained by Nikita Barlow (contributor 46508077) .