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Charles McDonnell

Charles J. McDonnell

Saturday July 7, 1928 - Thursday February 13, 2020
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Obituary

Auxiliary Bishop of Newark & Army Brigadier General

The Most Reverend Charles J. McDonnell, 91 passed away peacefully on Thursday, February 13, 2020 at his home. Born in Brooklyn, NY, he was the son of proud parents Charles and Josephine V. (Healy) McDonnell.

Ordained on May 29, 1954, he ministered as a priest in the Archdiocese of Newark, serving as assistant pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Church in Cedar Grove for 11 years. Coinciding his final three years there, he also served as Chaplain for the NJ Air National Guard.
In 1965 Charlie was commissioned as a US Army Chaplain. His assignments included: Assistant Staff Chaplain of the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, KY; Assistant Staff Chaplain for the 5th Special Forces Group in NA Trang, Republic of Vietnam; US Army Training Center in Fort Bragg NC; 7th Infantry Division at Camp Casey, Korea; I Corps at Camp Red Cloud, Korea; 1st Armored Division and 1st Calvary Division at Fort Hood, TX; V Corps at Frankfurt, Germany; Division Chaplain, 3rd Infantry Division at Wurzburg, Germany and Community Chaplain at Nurnberg, Germany.
He served as Installation Chaplain, US Army Infantry Center and School at Fort Benning, GA and as Deputy Chaplain for the Worldwide Ministries, Headquarters, US Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, VA.

Prior to being stationed at Fort Monmouth, where he served as Commandant of the US Army Chaplain and School, he was assigned as Staff Chaplain, US Army, Europe US Army Training and Doctrine Command and the Seventh Army in Heidelberg, Germany from 1981 to 1984.

He was named Prelate of Honor to His Holiness, John Paul II with the title of Reverend Monsignor in December of 1983.

President Ronald Regan, in 1986, nominated Monsignor McDonnell to the United States Senate for promotion to Brigadier General. He was the appointed by the Senate as Deputy Chief of Chaplains where he remained until his retirement from military service in 1989.

For those who were lucky enough to know Charlie, his humility was ever present. One would never hear him speak of the vast number of awards and decorations he received. However to name a few, he earned the Legion of Merit, Soldiers Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with 3 bronze oak leaf clusters, Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation, Defense Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with 4 campaign stars, US Army Reserve medal with hourglass, Army Service Medal, Army Overseas Medal with “I” device; the Parachutist Badge and several other citations and decorations.

After retiring from active duty, Monsignor McDonnell, served as Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Ridgewood, then he was appointed Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Newark in 1991.

In 1993 he was appointed Pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows in South Orange and on March 15, 1994 he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark and Titular Bishop of Pocofelto. He was consecrated as a Bishop on May 12, 1994.

Bishop McDonnell served as Regional Bishop for Bergen County until his retirement in 2004. After his retirement, he remained Pastor of Holy Trinity in Hackensack until 2009.
He also served as the Chaplain for the State of New Jersey Knights of Columbus.

Despite an amazing busy schedule, Bishop McDonnell was a devoted family member to his parents, two sisters and 11 nieces and nephews who simply knew him as “Uncle Buddy”. He rarely, if ever, missed a holiday and presided over almost all baptisms, confirmations and weddings. He is survived by his loving and dedicated sister, Janice I. Quinn; his adoring nieces and nephews, Stephen Quinn and his wife, Nancy; Michael Quinn and his wife, Mary Barbara; Peter Quinn and his wife, Barbara; Susan Ellis and her husband, Col. William Ellis; Timothy Quinn and his wife, Lisa; Patricia Olsem and her husband, Clint; Daniel O’Connell and his partner, Susan; Kimberly Palacios and her husband, Oscar; Christopher O’Connell; Megan Linder and her husband, Dennis and 23 grand-nieces and grand-nephews. Along with his parents, he was predeceased by a sister, Joan M. O’Connell and her husband Daniel O’Connell; and a nephew, Charles O’Connell.

Bishop McDonnell’s body will be received at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark on Wednesday February 19, 2020 at 2 PM.

He will lie in repose for visitation from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm.

A Vigil Service will be celebrated at 7 PM.

Visitation will continue on Thursday, February 20, from 10am until 1:30pm.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday at 2 pm at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark with the Most Reverend Paul G. Bootkoski as presider and homilist.

Bishop McDonnell will be interred in the Cathedral Crypt immediately following the Mass. Military honors for a retired Brigadier General will be rendered.

In lieu of flowers, please donate memorial contributions to either the St. Joseph’s Home For The Elderly run by The Little Sisters of the Poor http://www.littlesistersofthepoortotowa.org ; or The Archdiocese for the Military https://www.milarch.org/
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Wednesday, February 19th, 2020 | 2:30pm - 6:30pm
    When
    Wednesday, February 19th, 2020 2:30pm - 6:30pm
    Location
    Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart
    Address
    89 Ridge Street
    NEWARK, NJ 07104
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    Bishop McDonnell’s body will be received at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark on Wednesday February 19, 2020 at 2 PM.
  • Second Visitation

    Thursday, February 20th, 2020 | 10:00am - 1:30pm
    When
    Thursday, February 20th, 2020 10:00am - 1:30pm
    Location
    Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart
    Address
    89 Ridge Street
    NEWARK, NJ 07104
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    Bishop McDonnell’s body will be received at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark on Wednesday February 19, 2020 at 2 PM.
  • Service

    Thursday, February 20th, 2020 | 2:00pm
    When
    Thursday, February 20th, 2020 2:00pm
    Location
    Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart
    Address
    89 Ridge Street
    NEWARK, NJ 07104
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    A Vigil Service will be celebrated at 7 PM on Wednesday, February 19, 2020
    Officiant
    Most Reverend Paul G. Bootkoski
  • Interment

    Location
    Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart
    Address
    89 Ridge Street
    NEWARK, NJ 07104
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    Bishop McDonnell will be interred in the Cathedral Crypt immediately following the Mass. Military honors for a retired Brigadier General will be rendered.

Affiliations

  • Air Medal
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
  • Armed Forces Reserve Medal
  • Army Commendation Medal
  • Army Service Ribbon
  • Bronze Star
  • Celtic Cross
  • Legion of Merit Award
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation (Military)
  • Roman Catholic Church
  • Vietnam Campaign Medal
  • Vietnam Gallantry Cross
  • Vietnam Service Medal

Condolences

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Private Condolence
DK

David Kenehan

Posted at 09:48am
This is a little late but I only learned of Bishop McDonnell's passing on March 2nd. My deepest sympathy to his family on your loss and my thanks for sharing him with the Church and the Army Chaplaincy. I entered the Army in 1985 at Fort Monmouth when Charilie was commandant. He often invited all of us priests in basic training to his home for dinner and took us all quietly under his wing. We didn't realize it at the time but he was gently teaching us how to care for one another and how to take care of Army Families. He was a holy priest, a humble bishop, and a great chaplain. I will be forever grateful for his friendship and leadership.
May he rest in peace.
Fr. David Kenehan, O.S,F.S.
CH (COL-Ret) U.S. Army
RM

Rev. Eugene Marcone

Posted at 11:31am
With sincere sympathy to Bishop McDonnell's family. He certainly was a most faithful priest and great example. May he rejoice at seeing the face of Almighty God.
Father Eugene Marcone,
Pompano Beach, Florida
J

Jeffrey Koppelman

Posted at 10:52am
A truly honorable man who will be missed by all of us. In 1978
Buddy flew on from Germany to marry Jean and myself in Maspeth Queens. He also Baptized our daughter Kelly in 1981. We will always remember you for all that you have done. Rest Peacefully
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