Reverend J. Roger McGuinness | Obituary

Reverend J. Roger McGuinness, 82, peacefully commended his spirit to Almighty God accompanied by prayers from family and friends on Wednesday, January 12, 2022.

Reverend L. William Gordon will preside over the reception of the body on Monday, January 17 at 3 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Church in West Chazy. Calling hours will follow until evening prayer at 6 p.m. led by Reverend Kris C. Lauzon. The hotlines will continue from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on January 18 in the church.

A Christian burial mass will be celebrated at noon on January 18 at St. Joseph’s Church. Bishop Terry R. LaValley, Bishop of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, will be the main celebrant. Homelist is Father Kris C. Lauzon. The priests of the Diocese of Ogdensburg will concelebrate.

Father McGuinness’ body will be interred in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in the spring.

Father McGuinness was born on July 11, 1939. He is the son of James and Mary McGuinness. Originally from New York, he attended St. Elizabeth Elementary School in Washington Heights and Bishop Dubois High School in Manhattan.

Father McGuinness came to the North Country in 1957 to study for the Roman Catholic priesthood at Wadhams Hall Seminary in Ogdensburg. He completed his education and the priestly formation program at Christ the King Seminary in Olean, New York. Father McGuinness was ordained a priest by Bishop Thomas Donnellan at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Ogdensburg on May 22, 1965. Father McGuinness’ early years of priestly service were spent as parish vicar in the parishes of Potsdam, Lake Placid, Plattsburgh and Watertown. He served the residents of Raymondville and Keeseville as a pastor. In 1973 he returned to Wadhams Hall Seminary-College. For the next 16 years, he served as academic dean, director of spiritual formation, and instructor in psychology and religious studies. He helped seminarians from various dioceses to discern their vocation to priestly service. In 1989, he resumed parish ministry as pastor of Our Lady of Victory Church, St. John the XXIII College Community Church, and St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Plattsburgh. At the time of his retirement in 2016, Father McGuinness served the people of St. Joseph’s Church, West Chazy and Sacred Heart Church, Chazy.

Father McGuinness served the Diocese of Ogdensburg for many years as Director of Vocations, Director of Seminarians, and Chairman of the Continuing Education and Clergy Training Committee. Father McGuinness valued lifelong education, earning master’s degrees in counseling psychology, pastoral ministry, and Christian spirituality. He helped prepare lay people for ministry in the Church as a chaplain at Camp Guggenheim, an instructor in the ministry training program and the permanent diaconate program. While living in the Plattsburgh area, Father McGuinness recorded several television programs for the Diocese of Burlington. Father McGuinness gave frequent retreats, lectures and workshops in several dioceses in the United States and Canada, and he served on the board of directors of Regina Maria Retreat House in Plattsburgh.

Father McGuinness has served the community as Chairman of the Clinton and Plattsburgh County Interfaith Council, Adjunct Professor in the Honors Program and Upward Bound Program, and Guest Speaker for SUNY Plattsburgh’s EOP Program.

After retiring from parish administration, Father McGuinness continued to serve the Church as a spiritual director to many people and leader of a spirituality book club and Bible study. During the COVID pandemic, he recorded a series of podcasts about prayer and Saint Joseph.

Father McGuinness is survived by his brother, James, of Marietta, Ohio; three nieces, Stephanie McGuinness Brooker and her husband, Kevin; Jennifer McGuinness and Allie McGuinness Herren and her husband, Damon; and several great-nieces and nephews, Gavin, Wade, Calum, Lana and Kyla. He was predeceased by his parents and sisters-in-law, Janet and Patricia McGuinness.

Memorial donations may be made to the St. Joseph Memorial Fund, West Chazy, New York or you may request that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass be offered for the repose of his immortal soul.

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