Assignment Record– Rev. James L. MacGuinness

Summary of Case: James L. MacGuinness was a Boston priest, ordained in 1955. He assisted in Beachmont, Marblehead,
Lawrence, Roxbury and Sharon parishes, and he was pastor for three years in Peabody. He was also chaplain for a boys'
orphanage and for a girls' academy. His career is marked by several unexplained leaves of absence, 1937-1938 and 1940-1942.
MacGuinness died April 14, 1955. In June 2014 a 90-year-old man claimed in a lawsuit that MacGuinees sexually abused
him as a child during 1938-1940, at a Roxbury parish. The suit was settled in December 2014, and the man died two months later.

Ordained: 1912
April 14, 1955

Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Boston archbishop was William Henry O'Connell (1907-1944).

1925 Our Lady of Lourdes Beachmont MA 2/2, 2/3  
1925 1933 Our Lady Star of the Sea Marblehead MA 2/2  
1933 1937 St. Patrick's Lawrence MA 2/4 St. Patrick's had a grade school with 423-458 boys and 423-342 girls, and a high school with 135-117 girls.
1937 1938 Absent on Leave        
1938 1940 St. John's


In a lawsuit filed in June 2014, a 90-year-old man accused MacGuinness of sexually abusing him as a child in 1938-40 in St. John's rectory. The suit was settled in December 2014, and the man died two months later.

MA 2/5 St. John's had a school with 215 boys and 220 girls.
1940 1942 Absent on Leave        


O'Connell was succeeded by Richard James Cushing (1944-1970).

1946 Our Lady of Sorrows Sharon MA 2/2  
1946 1947         MacGuiness is indexed in the 1947 Directory as at Our Lady of Sorrows in Sharon, but he is not listed as there in the Boston pages; nor is he listed at his next assignment.
1947 1948 House of the Angel Guardian West Newbury MA Chaplain This was an orphanage and grade school with 173 boys, run by the Bros. of Charity of Ghent.
1948 1949 St. John the Baptist Quincy MA 2/5 St. John's had a school with 208 boys and 285 girls.
1949 1952 Mt. St. Joseph Academy Brighton MA Chaplain Mt. St. Joseph's had 387-440 students, all girls.
1952 1955 St. Anne's Peabody MA 1/2, 1/1 MacGuinness died April 14, 1955.


Source: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons 1913-1956)

Boston Archdiocese Settles with 7 Alleged Victims of Clergy Abuse, By Brian MacQuarrie, Boston Globe, March 28, 2016
Assignment Histories for 16 Clerics Named in Recent Settlements by Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Researched by, March 28, 3016


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 MacGuinness'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 April 11, 2016.