Monsignor James J. McHale, 65, Pastor of Catholic Parish in Bath

Morning Call (Allentown, PA)
October 27, 1997

Monsignor James J. McHale, 65, of Coplay, pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Bath, died Saturday, Oct. 25, in Sacred Heart Hospital.

Born in Tamaqua, he was a son of the late Richard and Theresa (Ginley) McHale.

He studied for the priesthood at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia, and was ordained in 1960. He was named honorary prelate to Pope Paul VI in 1974 with the title Reverend Monsignor.

He previously was pastor of St. Vincent de Paul parish, Minersville, Schuylkill County, and assistant pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus, West Reading, and Notre Dame of Bethlehem.

He helped build the religious and education center at Sacred Heart School, Bath, and before his illness, helped plan for a new rectory and church in Bath.

McHale was director of Holy Family Manor, Bethlehem, 1965-83, and Holy Family Villa for Priests; director and regional spiritual director of the Diocesan Council of Catholic Nurses; director and assistant director of Catholic Charities and Catholic Charities Appeal; member of the budget and advisory boards of Nativity Blessed Virgin Mary High School, Pottsville, and a member of the budget and audit review boards of Bethlehem Catholic High School.

Other positions included board president of Allentown State Hospital, director of the Pennsylvania Mental Health Association and a member of the American College of Nursing Home Administrators. He was a licensed health care administrator in Pennsylvania.

Also, treasurer of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, committee on health care facilities; chairman of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, commission on Aging, and a member of the state Catholic Conference, committee on social welfare. He served on the board of the former Allentown and Sacred Heart Hospital Center.

He was a member of the White House Conference on Aging in 1971 and 1981, and a member of the board of Community Services of Pennsylvania. He was a trustee of the pension fund of the Allentown Diocese, a founder of Project HEAD, Golden Age Clubs of the diocese, and of the Holy Family Home Health Care Agency of Schuylkill County. He was a member of the Bethlehem Rotary Club and chaplain of the Lehigh Valley Serra Club.

He received the Benjamin Rush Award from the Lehigh County Medical Society in 1972 and an award of merit from the Pennsylvania Public Health Association in 1975.

Survivors: Sister, Joan, wife of Joseph Ambrosavage, with whom he resided, and a brother Thomas of Trenton, N.J.

Mass: 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sacred Heart Church. Call 4-9 p.m. Tuesday in the church. Arrangements, Reichel Funeral Home, Northampton.


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