In Remembrance
AFFIRMING AN INCLUSIVE PRIESTHOOD, ROOTED IN A REFORMED AND RENEWED CHURCH

Duggan, John

Meadow Vista, CA
06/09/05

John Duggan, a former priest of the San Francisco Archdiocese died recently at the age of 89. The following eulogy was delivered at St. Theresa of Avila Church in Auburn, Calif. June 15 by his lifelong friend. Gerald. Cox. Cox served as a priest in the diocese of Santa Rosa.

John Duggan was fighter and battler from early childhood, growing up at 20th and Kansas Sts in the Portrero Hill district of San Francisco. His Irish, County Kerry, immigrant parents, Thomas Duggan and Maryanne Dillon named him "Babe" because he was the youngest of three other siblings, including Marie, Mike, and Tom.

One day Mrs. Duggan came out of the butcher's shop to witness a crowd circled around a fight. Pushing herself through the crowd she was aghast to see her son on top of another lad and wailing the daylights out of him. "Why that's my Babe" she cried out, which cry became legendary in Duggan family history.

Duggan learned early about the fight for labor union's right to organize from his union father as well as from Father Peter Yorke. Yorke, the famed fiery preacher and labor priest of the 20's and 30's, was the pastor of St. Peter's Parish. His sermons on justice and the rights of labor were weekly topics at his parishioners' dinner tables.

Duggan was baptized John Ralph after the pastor. Father Ralph Hunt. The Duggans moved to Sacred Heart School at Fell & Fillmore, where John entered the Christian Brothers Novitiate in Napa, and attended St. Mary' s College, Moraga. There he developed his love for poetry and Shakespeare from the famous Brother Leo and his love of philosophy from Professor Leo Haggerty from whom he learned that questions often lead to more questions. He was also introduced to the Great Books program of Mortimer Adler.

As "Brother Joseph" he spent three years teaching impoverished Mexican boys at Cathedral H.S. Los Angeles, where according to his own biography. My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is, it is "another thing to carry love into action."

Professor Haggerty had inspired John to discover theology as the ultimate development of philosophy. So he entered St. Patrick's Seminary in the Fall of 1941, eagerly seeking the "pearl" which Haggerty had described .

Unfortunately this period of learning on university/and seminary campuses was marked by a culture of anti-intellectualism so aptly described by the famous Church historian John Tracy Ellis. Duggan was turned off by the so called luminaries of he Sulpician order, as well as the general attitude of the student body toward learning, so .much so that he almost quit. He was persuaded to stay by his saintly confessor/ Father Redon.

At St. Patrick's he is known as Ralph and he organized a baseball team Duggan's Darlings". (This moniker would be very suspect in today's seminary/church).

Duggan's priestly career began at St. Mary's Church, Oakland where he served and was also influenced by the social activist Pastor/ Charles, Charlie, or Pop" Philipps as he was known, continued on in the Spanish Mission Band with Don McDomald.Tom McCullough, John Garcia, and later Ron Burke, Holy Rosary Church, Decoto in Alameda County, later the Bishops' Committee on Migrant Labor, Chicago where he roamed the migrant stream of the midwest, and finally returned to Tracy and St. Linus Parish with Hank Hughes who is also with us today.

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