Reverend Hugh H. McGroarty, of Saint John the Evangelist Parish, Pittston, died on Monday, April 16, 2012 at Little Flower Manor, Wilkes-Barre, PA.
Father McGroarty, son of the late Hugh Francis and Bridget Theresa Hughes McGroarty, was born in Plains on December 30, 1919. He received his early education at Sacred Heart, Plains, and graduated from High School at Sacred Heart in Plains. Father attended the University of Scranton and completed his studies for the priesthood at Mount Saint Mary’s College and Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 22, 1945, in Saint Peter’s Cathedral, Scranton, by the Most Reverend William J. Hafey, D.D., late Bishop of Scranton.
Father McGroarty’s first assignment was an assistant pastor at Saint Charles Borromeo, Sugar Notch; he then served as assistant pastor at Holy Saviour, Wilkes-Barre; Saint Patrick’s, Wilkes-Barre; Christ the King, Dunmore and Saint Mary of Mount Carmel, Dunmore He was named to his first pastorate at Saint Martha’s in Fairmount Springs on September 14, 1966. Father McGroarty was also pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace, Brodheadsville; Saint Elizabeth, Bear Creek; Saint Francis X. Cabrini, Carverton and Saint Patrick’s in White Haven. Father then became assistant pastor of Saint Cecilia’s in Exeter; Saint John the Baptist, Wilkes-Barre; administrator of Saint John the Evangelist, Wilkes-Barre; assistant pastor of Saint Rose of Lima, Carbondale and as a resident at Saint Hedwig’s in Kingston in 1993 and became a resident and senior priest at Saint John the Evangelist in Pittston on July 8, 1996 where he remained until his death at age 92 after serving 66 years as a priest of the Diocese.
On October 8, 2008, Father McGroarty was the recipient of the 33rd Annual John Cardinal McCloskey Award from the National Alumni Association of Mount Saint Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The award was presented for dedicated service to the Church. Father McGroarty was a past president of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Alumni Chapter and past member of the Priests’ Alumni Reunion Committee of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and also a member of the McSweeny Hall Seminary Renovations Committee.
At ninety-two years of age Father McGroarty continued to serve the Diocese seventeen years after the normal retirement age of 75. He was the oldest active priest in the Diocese. As Senior Priest at Saint John the Evangelist Church in Pittston Father McGroarty continued to celebrate Mass, hear confessions and visit the sick in the hospital, nursing facilities or their homes. He endeared himself with to the people he met in the course of his day, whether parishioners or people he encountered on his walks around Pittston.
He is survived by nieces Patricia Filipowich, Wilkes-Barre and Kathleen Arnett, Kansas; nephews Joseph McGroarty, Plains and Thomas McGroarty, Dodge City, Kansas and godchild, April McGroarty, Avoca. He also has several great nieces and nephews and many great, great nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by brothers, Joseph McGroarty and Edward McGroarty and sister, Mary McGroarty and also a brother, John McGroarty and sister, Elizabeth McGroarty, who both died in infancy.
Viewing will take place at Saint John the Evangelist Church, 35 William Street, Pittston, on Thursday, April 19, 2012, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. A Vigil Mass will be celebrated at Saint John the Evangelist Church, Pittston, on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 7:00 p.m., with the Monsignor John J. Bendik, Dean, presiding.
A Pontifical Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of Scranton, on Friday, April 20, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. in Saint John the Evangelist Church, Pittston. Viewing will also take place Friday morning, prior to the 11:00 a.m. Funeral Mass. Interment will be in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Plains.
Father Hugh requested that no flowers be sent but all donations be made to the Care and Concern Ministries of Saint John the Evangelist Parish Community, 35 William Street, Pittston, PA 18640. The Care and Concern Ministries provides a Free Health Clinic, Food Pantry, Kids Clothes Closet and Free Pediatric Health Clinic in the former Seton Catholic High School.