Monsignor James Ambrose McCauley
Saturday, November 8, 1930
Date of Death:
Sunday, June 5, 2022
91 years old
Monsignor James Ambrose McCauley
Monsignor James Ambrose McCauley was born on November 8, 1930 to John and Ella (Scanlon) McCauley near Caledonia. His father was killed in a hunting accident eleven months later. His mother and five children moved to Hokah shortly thereafter because she wanted her children to have a Catholic education at St. Peter’s School. Father McCauley graduated from St. Peter’s High School, St. Mary’s University in Winona and the Seminary at Catholic University in Washington, DC. He earned additional degrees from Tulane University and Gonzaga University.
Father McCauley was ordained a priest in 1956 and served St. Theodore’s in Albert Lea, St. Stanislaus in Winona, St. Peter and Paul in Hart, St. John’s and Pax Christi in Rochester, St. Bridgett’s in Simpson, St. Margaret’s in Mantorville, Christ The King in Byron, St. Joseph’s in Owatonna, St. Mary’s of the Lake in Lake City and St. Joseph’s in Theilman.
He taught at Cotter High School and served as Principal at Cotter and Lourdes High Schools. He was asked by Bishop Waters to start a new parish in Rochester that was dedicated in 1973 and named Pax Christi. While the church was being built, Mass was held at Skate Country, Assisi Heights, Madonna Towers and in private homes. He retired from active ministry in 1999 but continued to “fill in” at various parishes on a weekly basis until he suffered a stroke in 2008. Even after his stroke, he continued to celebrate Mass in his chapel at his home on a weekly basis and at the nursing home in Caledonia. He enjoyed winters in California with his sister for many years and faithfully celebrate Mass on a weekly basis there in “The Colony” in Murrieta. During COVID-19, he celebrated mass outside on his deck overlooking the Mississippi River.
Father McCauley was active in various organization such as the Knights of Columbus, Rochester Exchange Club and Human Rights Commission. He won the Upper Midwest Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament while in college and won many trophies in golf. He played baseball while a student at St. Mary’s. He coached the Cotter High School Golf Team that won the state championship and was inducted into the Cotter Hall of Fame along with his team. He, also, took flying lessons and made a solo flight.
One of his highlights as priest was when a baby he had baptized at St. Joseph’s in Owatonna, Jason Kern, was ordained a priest 25 years later. He frequently stated that he “happily made the decision to become a priest and never looked back”. He often asked young men if they had ever considered being a priest just as Father Hodapp asked him when he was in high school. Father Will Thompson was one of those young men whom he had asked. He truly enjoyed his 66 years as a priest.
Father McCauley is survived by his sister-in-law, Margaret McCauley; several nieces and nephews: Colleen McCauley, Debra McCauley, Diane McCauley, Janet McCauley, Mark McIntryre, Michelle McIntyre Crommelin, Jay McCauley, Clint McCauley, Laura (John) McCauley, Carrie McCauley Newcome and several great nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, John and Ella McCauley; brothers, Maurice (“Mac”) McCauley, Joe McCauley, and Cornelius (“Con”) McCauley; sister, Mary Ellen McCauley McIntrye; nieces, Sheila McIntrye Marble and Kathryn McCauley; and nephews, Timothy McIntrye and John McCauley.
Father McCauley’s wake will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and funeral will be held at Pax Christi Catholic Church in Rochester on Monday, June 13, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. Presiders will be Bishop John Quinn, Father Matt Wagner, Father Joe Fogal and Rev. Msgr. Gerald A. Mahon. Burial will be at St. Bridgett’s Church Cemetery in Simpson.
His request is that memorials be given to St. Peter’s School, the Priest’s Retirement Fund and the IHM Seminary in Winona.
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I was very sorry to hear of Monsignor McCauley's passing. Father McCauley was principal of Cotter High School in Winona when I was a student there in the 1960's. He was generous enough to give me his assistance as I was troubled youth. Thank you Father.
Beautiful and loving liturgy for a beautiful and loving man. thank you for sharing it with us both at Pax Chrisi and on-line.107
It was with great sadness that we learned of Monsignor James McCauley’s passing. Please accept our heartfelt condolences and we hope that in a small way they help through these trying times.
To the family and friends of Monsignor McCauley, my husband, Bryan Rossi, and I send our deepest sympathy. As one of my former LHS classmates said, "Quite a guy!"
Our deepest sympathy to the family of Fr. James McCauley. He served as pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Hayfield from 1970 - 1973. We were so fortunate to have him as our Shepherd for those three years. We are so glad he said, "Yes" to the Lord's call for him to become a priest. May he rest in peace. Parishioners of Sacred Heart, Hayfield.
Our deepest sympathy to Father McCauley's family. RIP and you will be missed on the "hill" in Brownsville, MN.
Mere words cannot express the love for this man. He was a wonderful shepherd to his Pax Christi flock. He gave us a great start to our new Pax Christi family. Starting with weekend Masses at the roller rink and daily Masses in our homes, building a church, both people and place, a work of love. Who could forget Shannon, the good old girl, welcoming us :-) and occasionally running away, going blocks away to our neighborhood! The first church office was in the basement and volunteers typed away! This was a real, true, Faith Family! He welcomed us all now he gets his wish, which he told me, was to be buried from Pax, so we will day our final goodbye with tears in our eyes, but overflowing joy that he is at peace, free from his burdens of physical affliction. Rest in Pax Christi dear Father Mac.
Father Jim was so respectful to my grandmother Mary Scanlon Colleran. He came to her house faithfully to pray and offer communion when grandma Mary could no longer attend Sunday Mass at St. John's in Rochester MN.
My husband, Leo Eischen, and I offer our deepest sympathy to Father McCauley's family. He was such a good and faith-filled man. He was Athletic Director at Cotter high school in Winona, MN when we were students there. He taught my Senior Religion class in 1960. I have often thought of this as my Apologetics class as he taught many important practices of our faith. My classmates will remember the admonition as to forming a correct conscience - to be neither "lax" nor "scrupe" - scrupulous. But the statement he made that has stuck with me the most and helped me to keep my Catholic faith in the face of the scandals of the past decades was this: "Priests are men and subject to the weaknesses of men. So don't let one man drive you from your faith. If he does so, he will stand before God and answer for it." I have shared this message with at least two people in my life who were struggling with their faith and advice they had been given. I hope that Father McCauley's words gave them hope and the impetus to return to their faith. May he rest in the peace of God.