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Rev Fr John Francis Xavier Fitzgerald

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Rev Fr John Francis Xavier Fitzgerald

  • Birth 9 Sep 1907 Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Death 27 Oct 1987 Wellesley, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Burial West Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Memorial ID 96834096

Father John Fitzgerald, CSP, was born in Boston on September 9, 1907. He was the son of a printer, attended local parochial schools, and graduated from Boston College in June, 1929. He entered the Paulist community later the same year, making his profession on June 16, 1930. He began studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in September, 1931 and was ordained a Catholic priest at the basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome on December 23, 1933.

After serving at Santa Susanna's parish in Rome for one year, he was named Newman Chaplain at UCLA. He returned to New York and joined the mission band based at Saint Paul the Apostle parish in New York City in 1937. While a missionary he also acted as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Catholic Missionary Union and as a consultor to Father Henry Stark, CSP, the Paulist Superior General (1940-46).

Father Fitzgerald joined the mission band based in Chicago in 1950 but returned to New York in 1952 after his election as First Consultor to Father William Michell, CSP, the new Paulist Superior General. During this time he coordinated Paulist mission bands throughout the country as well as helping to raise two million dollars for the renovation of St. Paul's College in Washington and the construction of the Paulist Center on Park Street in Boston. In 1958 he was named Pastor of Los Angeles where he served for six years.

In 1964 Father Fitzgerald was elected the twelfth Superior General of the Paulist Community. Directing the Paulists during the turbulence of the post-Vatican II years, he suggested that the "ferment in the world and in the Church" was the working of the Holy Spirit. During his term as Superior General, the Paulists would open campus ministries at the University of California in San Diego and Santa Barbara. They also opened a foundation in Vancouver, British Columbia. Father Fitzgerald supported the expansion of Paulist work in electronic media. He approved the creation of Paulist Productions under the direction of Father Elwood Keiser, CSP, and Paulist Communications under Father John Mulhall, CSP. He would be the last Superior General of the Paulist Community because the title was changed to President in 1968. He left office in 1970, retiring and moving to Los Angeles where he lived out his remaining years.

Father Fitzgerald died in his sleep while visiting his sisters at Mount Saint Vincent Convent in Wellesley Hill, Massachusetts, on October 27, 1987. At the time of his death he was 80 years old and had served as a Paulist priest for 53 years.


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  • Created by: Paulist Archives
  • Added: 10 Sep 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 96834096
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Rev Fr John Francis Xavier Fitzgerald (9 Sep 1907–27 Oct 1987), Find A Grave Memorial no. 96834096, citing Saint Joseph Cemetery, West Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Paulist Archives (contributor 47227615) .