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Rev. Msgr. James F. Connelly

Deceased: 2020-12-05


Seminary Graduation Year: 1956

CSM Graduation Year: 1960


Rev. Msgr. James Connelly passed away on December 5, 2020 after a long illness. Pastor Emeritus, Stella Maris Parish, South Philadelphia.

He was the beloved son of the late James and Margaret (nee Devlin) Connelly. He is survived by many cousins and loyal and dedicated friends, especially Joanna Renzi and the Politowski Family who were a surrogate family to him for most of his life, particularly in his old age.

Msgr. Connelly was educated at St. Joan of Arc School, St. Joseph Preparatory School, St. Charles Seminary, and the North American College, Rome, where he was ordained and awarded a Licentiate of Theology and a Doctor of Church History. While a student and priest in Rome, he served as Auxiliary Chaplin in the Army of Occupation in Germany. Returning to Philadelphia after his studies, he was assigned as a curate for a short time at St. Gabriel Parish, Norwood, St. Matthias, Bala, Mater Dolorosa, Philadelphia, and St. John the Baptist, Manayunk. In 1960, he was assigned as a professor to St. Charles Seminary. In 1961, he was chosen as Secretary to Archbishop Krol. In 1968, he returned to the Seminary as professor for the next seventeen years. During this time, he also acted as weekend assistant at Epiphany of Our Lord Parish in South Philadelphia.

In 1985, he was made Pastor of Stella Marish Parish. He continued as pastor until 2008 when he retired to St. Monica Parish and then to Villa St. Joseph. During his years at the Seminary, Msgr. wrote The History of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and The History of St. Charles Seminary. While pastor of Stella Maris, he collaborated with Rev. John Collins, Rev. Thomas McManus, and Joanna Renzi, M.Ed. on The History of the Roman Catholic Church: Survey, a textbook for high school students. Msgr. also contributed articles to The Catholic Standard and Times, The New Catholic Encyclopedia and numerous other publications. The Holy Father honored him by making him a Very Reverend Monsignor and again later, Rt. Reverend Monsignor. He will be missed by all he touched with his kindness, concern, and love.

Relatives, friends, clergy and religious are invited to his VIEWING THURSDAY 9 A.M. at The Church of Stella Maris, 9th and Bigler Sts. (parking lot on 10th and Bigler Sts.), followed by his Funeral Mass to be celebrated by The Most Reverend Archbishop Nelson J. Perez at 10:30 A.M. Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheltenham, PA. Expressions of Sympathy