Assignment Record – Rev. Sylvester D. Penna, s.j.

Summary of Case: Sylvester D. Penna was a priest of the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, ordained in 1948. He was assigned to many parishes and several high schools and, for a few years, was "father minister" at Gonzaga University. His work took him to the diocese's of Seattle and Spokane WA, Great Falls and Helena MT, Boise City ID and Baker OR. He died in 1974. Penna's name was included in 2011 on the Oregon Province's list of its members who have been identified as perpetrators of sexual abuse.

Ordained: 1948
Died: 1974



Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


San Francisco archbishop was John Joseph Mitty (1935-1961).

1949 Alma College Alma CA 4th year theologian  


Seattle bishop was Gerald Shaughnessy, s.m. (1933-1950).

1950 Manresa Hall Port Townsend WA tertian father  


Shaughnessy was succeeded by Thomas Arthur Connolly (1950-1975).

1952 Bellarmine High School Seattle WA   Bellarmine High had 350-370 students, all boys.


Spokane bishop was Charles Daniel White (1926-1955)

1953 St. Patrick's Spokane WA 2/3 St. Patrick's had a school with 350 students.


Great Falls bishop was William Joseph Condon (1939-1967).

1960 St. Jude Thaddeus' Havre MT 4/4, 3/4, 2/4 St. Jude's had school with 215-277 boys and 215-265 girls, and a religious vacation school with 33-133 students.
1953 1960 St. John's Cottonwood MT   This was a mission of St. Jude Thaddeus' in Havre.


Boise City bishop was James Joseph Byrne (1956-1962).

1961 St. Stanislaus' Lewiston ID 2/3 St. Stanislaus' had a school with 74 boys and 89 girls.


Spokane bishop was Bernard Joseph Topel (1955-1978).

1963 St. Patrick's Spokane WA 3/3 St. Patrick's had a school with 427-390 students.
1963 1966 Gonzaga University

Spokane WA father minister The 1966 Directory indexes Penna as at Gonzaga, but it does not list him as there in the Spokane pages.


Helena bishop was Raymond Gerhardt Hunthausen (1962-1975).

1967 Loyola High School Missoula MT   Loyola High had 129 students, all boys.
1966 1967 St. Francis Xavier Missoula MT In residence. St. Francis Xavier's had a school with 279 students.


Condon was succeeded as Great Falls bishop by Eldon Bernard Schuster (1967-1977).

1968 St. Jude Thaddeus' Havre MT 5/5 St. Jude's had a school with 228 boys and 269 girls, and a religious vacation school with 150 students.
1967 1968 St. John's Cottonwood MT    
1968 1972 St. Thomas the Apostle Harlem MT 1/1 St. Thomas' had a religious vacation school with 105-125 students.
1968 1972 St. Thomas Hogeland MT   St. Thomas' had a religious vacation school with 40 students. It was a mission of St. Thomas the Apostle in Harlem.
1968 1972 Sacred Heart Fort Belknap MT   This was a mission of St. Thomas the Apostle in Harlem.


Baker bishop was Thomas Joseph Connolly (1971-1999).

1973 St. Katherine's Enterprise OR 1/1  
1972 1973 St. Pius X Wallowa OR   This was a mission of St. Katherine's in Enterprise.
1973 1974 St. Vincent de Paul Salem OR 3/3

St. Vincent's had a school with 318 students.

Penna died Jan. 8, 1974.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1949-1975)

Non-Monetary Commitments, The Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus website, accessed Dec. 7, 2012

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.

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 Penna's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation 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.

This assignment record was last updated on December 11, 2014.