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Rev. John W. Lennon – Assignment History

Summary of Case: John W. Lennon was ordained for the Maryknoll order in 1955. After a year of studies in New York, the Philippines, Massachusetts and Ireland, he settled into ministry in the Philippines. There for over a decade, Lennon pastored several parishes, directed high schools, was a college president and served as superintendent of schools for the Tagum diocese. He was also a U.S. Military chaplain. Lennon returned to the United States in the late 1960s, teaching pastoral ministry for a short time at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, followed by a brief stint as associate pastor of St. Anthony's in New York's Bronx borough. In 1970 Lennon was assigned to New York's Cardinal Hayes High School where he he served as a teacher, administrator and moderator of athletics. He appears to have left the Maryknolls in approximately 1975. In 1981 he left Hayes to pastor St. Gregory's parish in Manhattan, remaining there until 1989 when he became pastor of St. John the Baptist in Yonkers.

In April 2002 Lennon was suspended from ministry after an accusation emerged that he had molested a Hayes High School student in the mid-1970s. His accuser said that he was on the school's hockey team when Lennon was in charge of athletics, and that the abuse occurred during weekend trips. Lennon denied the accusation.

In April 2008 it was reported that Lennon had been "quietly" laicized by the Vatican. He died in December 2012.

Born: January 20, 1928
Ordained:
June 11, 1955
Educated: Maryknoll Jr. Seminary, Maryknoll Jr. College, Maryknoll Major Seminary
Laicized: 2008
Died: December 16, 2012


 

 

 

Start Stop Assignments Town/Allegations State
Country Position Notes
1955 1956 Maryknoll Fathers New York, Manila, Boston, Carlow NY, Manila, MA,
Carlow
United States, Philippines, United States, Ireland student Lennon's obituary states that, after ordination, he attended Fordham University to study Tagalog, Santo Tomas University in the Philippines, Massachusetts General Hospital to study Clinical Pastoral Education, and St. Patrick's College in Carlow, Ireland to study Pastoral Liturgy. Lennon reportedly earned a doctorate at some point.

1956

Diocese of Lipa

Bishop was Alejandro Ayson Olalia (1953-1973).

1960 Maryknoll Fathers Paete Laguna
Philippines pastor, educator, school administrator, chaplain Lennon's obituary shows that, during his time in the Philippines, he pastored "several congregations," directed Maryknoll Francis High School, Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St. Mary's High School, and was President of Assumption College. Further, it states that he was Superintendent of Schools in the Tagum diocese and a chaplain for the US Military.

1960

Prelature Nullius of Dava

Bishop was Clovis Joseph Thibauld (Thibault), P.M.E. (1954-1972).

1967 Maryknoll Fathers Magugpo, Tagum Davao
Philippines    

1967

Archdiocese of Boston

Archbishop was Richard James Cushing (1944-1970).

1968 Massachusetts General Hospital Boston MA United States Clinical Pastoral Education teacher Although the Directories show Lennon as still in the Philippines, Lennon's obituary places him at Massachusetts General Hospital during1967-68.

1969

Archdiocese of New York

Archbishop was Terence James Cooke (1968-1983).

1970 St. Anthony's New York (Bronx) NY United States

associate pastor

 
1970 1981 Cardinal Hayes High School

New York (Bronx)

Lennon was accused in 2002 of repeatedly fondling a Hayes student in the mid-1970s. His accuser said that he was on the school's hockey team when Lennon was in charge of athletics, and that the abuse occurred during weekend trips. Lennon denied the accusation.

NY United States religion and english teacher; administrator; moderator of athletics

Cardinal Hayes High had 2,235-1,297 students, all male.

Lennon appears to have left the Maryknoll order around 1975; beginning with the 1976 Directory he is no longer indexed or listed in the New York pages with the Maryknoll suffix," m.m."

During 1973-1978 Lennon is listed at Cardinal Hayes as "residing elsewhere."

1981

Cooke was succeeded by John Joseph O'Connor (1984-2000).

1989 St. Gregory's New York (Manhattan) NY United States 1/3, 1/2, 1/4 St. Gregory's had a school with 320-280 students.

1989

Edward Michael Egan followed O'Connor as New York Archbishop (2000-2009).

2002 St. John the Baptist Yonkers NY United States

1/3, 1/2, 1/4

Lennon was also chaplain for the Yonkers Fire Department.

 
2002 2008 Suspended        

Lennon was suspended from ministry in April 2002 after an allegation emerged that he had sexually abused a Hayes High School student in the mid-1970s.

Lennon was "quietly" laicized, as reported in April 2008. He died December 16, 2012. His obituary presents him as a priest, making no mention of his laicization.

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Source: Official Catholic Directory (Kenedy & Sons, 1956-2002).

Sex scandal claims Yonkers pastor, Journal News, April 19, 2002
Vicar Apologizes to Yonkers Parish, Journal News, April 21, 2002
The Accused, USA Today, November 11, 2002
Egan Shutting Door on Suspended Priests, By Gary Stern, Journal News, September 14, 2003
Six N.Y. Priests Defrocked, By Gary Stern, Journal News, July 9, 2005
6 Years Later, a Former Yonkers Priest is Quietly Defrocked, By Gary Stern, Blogging Religiously, April 7, 2008
Rev. Jon Lennon, January 20, 1928 - December 16, 2002, flowerfh.com, December 202

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Lennon's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with the allegations against him, as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegations we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.