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Rev. Msgr. Edward McTaggart

Deceased: 2020-07-30


ICTE Fall: 1992

Edward Patrick McTaggart was born February 6, 1929 in San Francisco, the eldest child of Edward T. and Marie [Moynihan] McTaggart. His father was from County Cork, Ireland; his mother had been born and raised in San Francisco. Along with his sister Maureen, and brother John, Ed was a student at St. Finn Barr Parish, later completing elementary school at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in Redwood City. He expressed interest in becoming a priest from the start of 8th grade, and was accepted for studies at Saint Joseph College, and at St. Patrick’s Seminary for the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Fr. McTaggart was ordained to the priesthood on June 11, 1955 at St. Mary’s Cathedral by Archbishop John J. Mitty, and celebrated his First Solemn Mass the following day at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Redwood City.

Fr. Ed stepped into his first assignment at St. Felicitas Parish in San Lorenzo. Five years later, in September 1960, he applied to serve as Chaplain, 49th Infantry Brigade, California Army National Guard. His annual commitment to responsibilities with the National Guard was never overlooked or taken lightly. He rose over the years to the rank of full bird Colonel, denoting his exemplary service as a senior commissioned officer who served decades in the military.

In 1961, Fr. McTaggart was appointed to Star of the Sea Parish in San Francisco, and in 1965, to St. Brendan Parish. Seven years later, he was named Administrator at St. Brendan, following the death of Monsignor Stephen Cummins. In 1974, Fr. Ed began two years of ministry in San Jose at Queen of Apostles Parish, adjacent to Archbishop Mitty High School. Partway through his assignment, was assigned as Administrator when the Pastor, Fr. Elwood Geary, fell ill.

On February 2, 1976, Fr. McTaggart came home to his beloved Outer Mission as Pastor of St. John the Evangelist. It was noted in the SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER that he arrived 83 years to the month when Fr. Peter Brady, the first Pastor, had arrived by horse and buggy from Half Moon Bay: “…Fr. Brady had hitched his rig to the post outside Reising’s House of Refreshment for Man and Beast on Mission Road, across from the site of St. Mary’s College.” The parish had originally been called, in fact, St. Mary’s College Parish because Fr. Brady had started the parish in the abandoned St. Mary’s College chapel. The church was completed at its present site in 1903 in the classical revival/Italian Renaissance style, and by the 1970s, was in need of significant repair. Despite a stagnant economy, parishioners responded with energy to Fr. McTaggart’s early and urgent call, and contributed to the total upgrade of the parish buildings. Monsignor McTaggart said at the time, “This has always been an immigrant parish, and we are still that – nurturing values of religion and good citizenship in this important San Francisco neighborhood. The refurbishment of our church is a symbol of how we revere the past and prepare for the future at St. John the Evangelist.” In marking Fr. McTaggart’s 25th anniversary of ordination in 1980, Archbishop Quinn noted, “…You have given yourself freely to the service of Christ and to His people. While I know you have done this out of love for Christ and do not look for any thanks, I do wish to express my personal gratitude and that of the countless souls you have touched in your priestly ministry.” The renovation of St. John the Evangelist Church was completed in 1982.

With the approaching visit of Pope John Paul II to San Francisco in September 1987, Archbishop Quinn appointed Fr. McTaggart Vicar General on July 16, 1987, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Fr. McTaggart accepted the pastorate of St. Brendan Parish in January 1988, an assignment he loved from the start. Within months, he was also asked to take on the additional responsibilities of Moderator of the Curia for a short while for Monsignor Frank Lacey. On September 10, 1989, Father was named a Prelate of Honor by His Holiness John Paul II with the title of Monsignor. At the time, Bishop PJ McGrath affirmed Monsignor’s, “…many efforts on behalf of the people of the Archdiocese of San Francisco,” during the Papal visit. And from then-Fr. John Wester: “We all recognize your remarkable service.…I have always admired your gentle yet competent manner…” Over the years, Monsignor McTaggart accepted with humility and quiet proficiency positions on the Priest Personnel Board, Council of Priests, Board of Consultors, Seminary Board of Trustees, Archdiocesan Building Committee, and the Archdiocesan Welfare Corporation Board. His commitment as Vicar General ended in early 1993.

After shepherding the people of St. Brendan Parish for more than ten years, Monsignor McTaggart retired October 1, 1998 to St. Gregory in San Mateo, where he lived until 2013. He then resided at Serra Clergy House until late 2016, when his need for more focused care necessitated the change to Judy’s Home for the Elderly in San Mateo. Thank you for joining Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Bishop Ignatius Wang, Bishop Bill Justice, Bishop Bob McElroy, Bishop P.J. McGrath, Bishop Carlos Sevilla, Archbishop John Wester, Monsignor John Talesfore, Fr. David Schunk, Fr. Angel Quitalig, Fr. Stephen Howell and me in praying for Monsignor Ed, along with his sister Maureen; and his brother John (Mary) and their children. The family asked that we express their heartfelt appreciation to Judy’s Home for the Elderly for their kindness and devoted loyalty.