The Most Reverend John R. McGann, D.D.
Second Bishop of Rockville Centre
Bishop John Raymond McGann was born on December 2, 1924 in Brooklyn, NY, the son of the late Thomas and Mary Ryan McGann. He graduated from Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish Elementary School in June, 1938. He pursued studies for the priesthood at Cathedral College Preparatory Seminary, Brooklyn (1938-44) and Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, NY (1944-50).
Ordained to the priesthood on June 3, 1950, by the Most Reverend Thomas E. Molloy, third Bishop of Brooklyn, Father McGann was assigned to St. Anne's Parish, Brentwood, New York, where he served as assistant pastor from 1950 to 1957. During that period, Father McGann also served as assistant chaplain at Pilgrim State Hospital, Brentwood, and from 1950 to 1954 as a faculty member of St. Joseph's Academy, Brentwood.
Shortly after the Diocese of Rockville Centre was established in 1957, Bishop Walter P. Kellenberg appointed Father McGann an assistant chancellor and, in 1959, as his assistant personal secretary. Father McGann was named Secretary to Bishop Kellenberg in 1959. That same year, Pope John XXIII appointed him a papal chamberlain with the title Very Reverend Monsignor. From 1957 to 1971 Monsignor McGann resided in the rectory of St. Agnes Cathedral Parish, Rockville Centre, where he also assisted with the parish work.
Monsignor McGann assumed additional duties in October of 1967 as a vice-chancellor and secretary to the Board of Consultors -- a group of priest/advisors to the diocesan bishop -- and retained those positions until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop in November, 1970. From that time until his appointment as Ordinary in 1976, Bishop McGann remained a member of the Board of Consultors. During this period he also served on several other diocesan boards.
In 1969, the then Monsignor McGann became one of 10 diocesan priests chosen from around the country to be named to the then newly formed National Advisory Council to the U.S. Bishops, a fifty-member body made up of clergy, religious and laity. He was nominated for this post by the Priests' Advisory Council of the Diocese and he served from 1969 to 1970.
On November 12, 1970, Pope Paul VI appointed Monsignor McGann Titular Bishop of Morosbisdus and Auxiliary to Bishop Walter B. Kellenberg. He was ordained bishop on January 7, 1971 and in November of that year was appointed vicar general of the diocese and episcopal vicar of Suffolk County. Subsequently, in 1976, he was named Ordinary of the Rockville Centre Diocese in succession to Bishop Walter P. Kellenberg, the founding bishop, who had retired on May 3, 1976. Bishop McGann was installed on June 24, 1976.
Bishop McGann has served on various committees of the New York State Conference of Catholic Bishops. In November, 1984, he was elected to the office of treasurer of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) for a three-year term. He assumed the chairmanship of the board of directors of the Catholic Telecommunications Network of America for the period from May 1, 1990 to December 31, 1992. In November, 1993, Bishop McGann was elected chairman for the NCCB's Region II, which is made up of the eight dioceses of New York State.
Over the years, Bishop McGann has been awarded numerous honorary degrees, including a Doctor of Laws degree from St. John's University, Jamaica (1971); a Doctor of Humanities degree from Molloy College, Rockville Centre (1977); a Doctor of Ministry degree from Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington (1990); and a Doctor of Humane Letters from Long Island University, C. W. Post College, Brookville (1997).
Bishop McGann was invested as Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Sepulchre of Jerusalem in 1970 and as a member of the American Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in 1985.
On December 4, 1993, Bishop McGann received the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council's Theodore Roosevelt Award for Outstanding Service in recognition of his efforts to serve the health care needs of Long Islanders. St. Mary's Children and Family Services in Syosset awarded him its 1997 Humanitarian Award. In anticipation of his retirement in 1999 at the age of 75, numerous institutions honored Bishop McGann. He was awarded Molloy College's Lifetime Achievement Award, the Long Island Association's Lifetime Achievement Award and St. Charles Hospital's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Upon receipt of the Holy See's acceptance of his resignation on January 4, 2000, Bishop McGann retired.
Survivors include a brother, James and a sister -- his twin -- Sister John Raymond, CSJ, former General Superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood. Two other brothers, Thomas and Joseph, and two sisters, Sister Thomas Joseph, CSJ and Madeline McGann, are deceased.