Gen James Hugh O'Neill

Gen James Hugh O'Neill

Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Death 17 Apr 1972 (aged 80)
Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, USA
Burial Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, USA
Plot Bishop's Section
Memorial ID 82774791 View Source
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Rt. Rev. Msgr. (BG) James Hugh O'Neill was a US Army Chaplain for twenty-six years, including World War II. He was perhaps best remembered as the Chaplain, then Colonel, who authored the "Weather Prayer" on December 8, 1944 at Caserne Molifor in Nancy, France, just before the Battle of the Bulge, for Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., who at the time, was commanding the Third US Army.

James Hugh O'Neill was the son of William O'Neill and Catherine Enright O'Neill. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree (1911) and Master of Arts degree (1913) from Loyola University, he entered St. Paul's Seminary in Minnesota, and was ordained on May 20, 1915. Father O'Neill was then assigned to the Diocese of Helena, Montana and appointed to the faculty of Carroll College in the fall of 1915. While at Carroll, he was Professor of Physics, Registrar, Dean of Men, and Vice President (1921-26).

In 1926, Father O'Neill entered the Chaplain Service of the US Army. He saw duty throughout the United States (1929-1934; 1936-1942) and the Philippine Islands (1927-1929; 1934-1936), and served on the staffs of General Jacob Devers (1942-44) and General George Patton (1944-46) in the European Theater of Operations, and served on the staff of General Courtney Hodges (1946-1948) at Ft Jay, Governor's Island, New York. He was promoted to Brigadier General and became Deputy Chief of Chaplains of the US Army, at Ft Myer, Arlington, Virginia (1948-1952). His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Croix de Guerre with Palm from France, the Croix de Guerre with Palm from Belgium, the Croix de Guerre from the Duchy of Luxembourg, the American Theatre Medal, and the American Defense Medal. He also earned battle stars for the campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe. He retired from the US Army in 1952 and continued his priestly ministry at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Diocese of Pueblo, Pueblo, Colorado. His masses there were always packed and his sermons were full of passion. He used his outdoor military voice so visitors thought he was yelling. He enjoyed walking the schoolyard and enjoyed talking with the students. He died on Apr 17, 1972 in the 57th year of his priesthood and the 80th year of his life.

Thanks to the Carroll College newspaper "Prospector", May 28, 1948; "The True Story of the Patton Prayer" by Msgr. James H. O'Neill, Oct 6, 1971; and special thanks to the "Pueblo Chieftain", Pueblo, Colorado, Apr 18, 1972 for their help.

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