Monivea native Monsignor James J. Loughnane Protonotary Apostolic, Vicar Forane & pastor of St. Denis in Diamond Bar, passed away at the age of 81 at St. Jude Hospital in Fullerton on Monday evening the 17th of September following complications post emergency surgery.
James J. Loughnane was the eldest of thirteen children born on the 7th of February 1937 to Michael and Bridget Loughnane (Commins ) in the village of Monivea Co Galway where the family operated a joinery and carpentry business dating back to 1786 and is still continued today by at least the 5th generation.
Aged five, James headed off to Monivea National School. He received his secondary education at St Jarlath’s College Tuam. In 1955 James entered the seminary at All Hallows College in Drumcondra Dublin where he was Ordained to the priesthood on the 18th of June 1961 with 37 classmates by the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly Co Tipperary Dr Morris. He celebrated his first mass in the Sacred heart Church Ryehill, Monivea on the 19th of June 1961.
Six weeks after his ordination Fr Loughnane and three new priests of his class began their ministry in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Fr Jim’s first assignment was at St John the Baptist De La Salle, Granada Hills where he spent five years. In 1966 Fr Jim was transferred to St Cornelius in Long Beach, until 1971 he was transferred to St Bonaventure in Huntington Beach. 1975 Fr Jim was transferred to St Barnabas in Long Beach just one year before Orange County became a Diocese. In 1976 Fr Jim was appointed a Judge in the Archdiocesan Matrimonial Tribunal and became a member of the Cannon Law Society of America,
In 1980 Fr Jim was appointed administrator of St Joseph the Worker Parish Canoga Park, where he became Pastor the following year, which he held until 1993.
In 1988 Fr Loughnane was appointed Domestic Prelate by his Holiness Pope John Paul II and given the title of Monsignor. In 1993 Msgr Jim was appointed pastor the growing community of St Denis, Diamond Bar.
In addition to parish ministry Msgr Jim served on several Archdiocesan Boards and committees including Deanery representative of the Priests Council Board of Consulters, Young Adult Advisory Board, PACE (pastor advisory committee on education ), and the Catholic School Board. He served as a member of the Original Committee for the “Together in Mission” Annual Appeal.
Msgr Jim also worked with San Fernando Valley Interfaith Council and other Ecumenical programs. He was a founding member of Voice (valley organised in committee efforts ). He also served as a member of Our Lady of Angels Cathedral Advisory Committee and a member of the Finance Sub-Committee for the Cathedral.
Msgr Jim served as Vicar Forane (Dean ) for Deanery 12, Chair of Priests, Personnel Board, the Tidings Board, and the Growing Stewarts Committee. He was a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus and in 1997 he became a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem Western Lieutenancy, whose main work is the creation, support and maintenance of an educational system for the Christian minority in the Holy Land.
In March 2006 his holiness Pope Benedict XVI honoured him with the title Monsignor Protonotary Apostolic (P.A ) the highest order of Monsignor.
On the 4th of January 2012 Archbishop Jose Gomez appointed Msgr Loughnane PA as Episcopal Vicar of the San Gabriel Pastoral Region of the Archdiocese east of Los Angeles through the San Gabriel and Pomona valleys. The region has 67 parishes, 13 high schools, many elementary schools in the absence of an auxiliary bishop which he held until September 2015. Msgr Jim was a fluent Spanish speaker due to the Spanish and Mexican communities in his parishes.
Retirement never entered the equation for Msgr Jim who loved and enjoyed working as pastor of his parish and the community right up to Monday the 17th of September where he took ill in the Sacristy and was rushed to St. Jude Hospital in Fullerton hospital and following emergency surgery passed away that evening. In actual fact he died with his boots on as it were.
Msgr Jim was pre-deceased by his brother Vincent in February 2018 in Los Angeles, and his brother Tim in June 2018 in Clonberne/Monivea. No doubt the three brothers are together with three baby siblings and their parents where the family circle forms again in the kingdom of heaven.
Glowing tributes to the Monivea native and deserving of all the many accolades accorded to him for his 57 years of stellar service to the church and diocese of LA and so many communities and organisations in Los Angeles by Cardinals, and Archbishops and the general public.
Msgr Jim was described as one of those singular priest-leaders who was indefatigable in serving Jesus, the church and the Archdiocese whose leadership abilities were easily recognised, and who gave of himself totally to the service of the Archdiocese.
He was often asked to give up a good assignment to take on one that was more challenging, which he never refused. He was the epitome of the Good Shepard ever in the midst of his people and always leading them to the green pastures of the Kingdom Of God. He was always ready and willing and able to accept the new and challenging assignments and carried them out with grace, wisdom, and generosity. Even after the normal time of retirement, he continued on leading the people of St Denis Parish in Diamond Bar, while also assuming so many other duties for the diocese and across the San Gabriel Pastoral Region, always willing and anxious to be of help. Being always an active pastor himself, he was able to bring the parishes of the San Gabriel Pastoral Region a genuine understanding of parish life and ministry, and he was always there for his priests and parish leaders. He was always present at so many masses, special occasions all across the region. He was praised for his marvellous Irish sense of humour.
Monday the 17th of September was a very sad day in the diocese of Los Angeles where two giants of the church were lost. Msgr. Royale Vadakin had passed away earlier on that day and then Msgr Jim Loughnane PA passed away in the evening, both close friends and fellow church men.
It was reported that the two friends and priests were giants in their love of Jesus Christ, their commitment to the church and their dedication to bring about a deep renewal of the church in our times. Both were fearless and faithful collaborators in every stage of the life of the Archdiocese
Celebrating Mass Tuesday morning September 18th before the 2018 Los Angeles Catholic Breakfast, Archbishop Gomez remarked how difficult it was to lose “two very fine priests” in one day. “I want to take a moment to just remember two of our priests who passed away yesterday, Msgr. Royale Vadakin and Msgr. Jim Loughnane, two faithful and dedicated priests who served the people of the Archdiocese for many years,” said the archbishop at the beginning of his homily.
Msgr Jim’s funeral mass was celebrated in his beloved St Denis church where the Most Reverend Jose Gomez - Archbishop of Los Angeles ?(Principle Celebrant ), Cardinal Roger Mahoney - Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles, and Most Reverend David O’Connell - Bishop of San Gabriel Region led up to two hundred priests concelebrating the funeral mass. There were several guards of honour representing the many organisations that Msgr Jim was both personally and ministerialy known to the communities and congregations.
The Homily was offered by Msgr John Barry one of the three classmates ordained and began their ministry together in Los Angeles back in 1961. “He said that Msgr Jim often told me he wishes he had 25 more years of ministry to give, and if he had to go back in time, he would still choose the same path of dedicating his life to the priesthood,” he added. “I believe that our good Lord blesses monsignor every day with energy and wisdom, so he can continue to touch lives and save souls.”
Msgr Loughnane was laid to rest in the Crypt of Los Angeles Cathedral where his siblings & extended family from Monivea and Los angeles were in attendance.
Msgr Jim is survived by his brothers Frank, John, Jarlath, Tony, his sisters Julia, (Monivea ) Sr Gertrude (Poor Clares Ennis ) and Margaret (Co Meath ), sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, grand-nephews and grand-nieces.
A remembrance mass will be offered for the late Monsignor Jim Loughnane in the Sacred Heart Church Ryehill Monivea on Sunday the 21st of October at 12-00. May his gentle soul rest in peace.