Alumni Association of The Pontifical North American College

J. Thomas Finucan


CLASS 1956


Father J. Thomas Finucan, at the age of 88 and a priest for 62 years, died Monday, May 14, 2018, at Bethany-St. Joseph Care Center in La Crosse.

John Thomas Finucan was born Feb. 23, 1930, in Eau Claire, Wis., to Edwin T. and Isabel G. (née McDonald) Finucan. He attended St. Patrick Elementary School and St. Patrick High School, both in Eau Claire. He attended Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa and the Pontifical North American College in Rome. On Dec. 17, 1955, he was ordained a priest at the North American College Chapel by the Most Reverend Martin J. O’Connor, Rector.

Father Finucan’s first assignment was as an Assistant at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Richland Center from August 1956 to June 1958. He was then assigned as a full-time Instructor at Assumption High School in Wisconsin Rapids with residence at St. Lawrence Parish rectory in Wisconsin Rapids. On June 28, 1960, Father Finucan was assigned as a full-time Instructor at Newman High School in Wausau, Wis., with residence at St. Mary Parish rectory in Wausau. From 1962 to 1965, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for graduate studies in educational administration. Upon completion of his studies, he was assigned as an Assistant at St. Vincent de Paul Parish and the Principal of Assumption High School, both in Wisconsin Rapids. On Aug. 17, 1970, Father Finucan became the President of Viterbo College in La Crosse. He served in this role for 10 years until July 1, 1980, when he was permitted to direct an initiative in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to examine the possibility of establishing a regional college seminary for the dioceses of Wisconsin and surrounding areas.

 Father Finucan returned to the Diocese of La Crosse in September 1981 and, in November he was assigned as Pastor of St. Stanislaus Parish in Stevens Point. He served on the Presbyteral Council beginning in February 1983 and, in March 1984, he was appointed as a member of the College of Consultors. In August 1985, was named Dean of the Stevens Point Deanery. On June 1, 1986, Father Finucan received permission to accept the position of Director of Education for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis with residence at St. Thomas College in St. Paul. On Sept. 1, 1989, he was appointed as the Executive Director of Capital Giving at St. Thomas College. In February of 1993, he was assigned as the Pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Fountain City and was given permission to be a counselor to the President of St. Mary’s College of Minnesota and a consultant to the Metanoia Group in Winona. He also served as Pastor of Most Sacred Heart Parish in Pine Creek for several months in 1995. On June 13, 2000, he was granted the status of a senior priest; he resided in La Crosse during his retirement.

Father Finucan is survived by one sister, Peg Fennig; and his nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Monsignor James P. Finucan; one sister, Mary Hendee; brothers-in-law, Kirby Hendee and Robert Fennig; and one niece, Theresa Hendee.

 The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at Christ the King Chapel at Holy Cross Diocesan Center in La Crosse Thursday, May 17, at 11 a.m. The Most Reverend William Patrick Callahan was the main celebrant and Reverend Eugene J. Wolf was the homilist. Burial was Friday, May 18, at St. Patrick Cemetery in Eau Claire.



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