Father John McCaslin served urban, rural parishes for 45 years
September 29, 2020
Retired Father John (Jack) McCaslin, whose 65 years of priesthood was marked by a strong commitment to social justice issues, including opposition to the death penalty and nuclear weapons, died Sept. 26 in Omaha. He was 91.
A funeral Mass was offered Sept. 30 at St. Pius X Church in Omaha. His body was donated to the Creighton University School of Medicine.
A native Omahan, Father Jack was raised in a family of 13 children that produced five priests and one religious sister.
He attended Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, Conception Seminary in Conception, Missouri, and the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
He was ordained by Archbishop Gerald T. Bergan in 1955 at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha.
The Eucharist was central to his life and his priesthood, along with preaching and teaching, said his brother, Father Pat McCaslin, also a retired priest of the archdiocese.
“What was important to him was forming a community … his people, knowing and loving one another … so that the grace of God was present in the community.”
“He didn’t mince words about the radical nature of the Gospel,” Father Pat said, speaking of his brother’s commitment to social justice issues.
“When he saw something that needed to be righted, it became a mission. He looked at the root causes of evil, the root causes of ignorance, and did everything he could to deal with it,” Father Pat said.
Examples include protesting against nuclear weapons at Bellevue’s Offutt Air Force Base, leading to numerous arrests for trespassing, and his generosity to the poor using his own money, Father Pat said.
Between 1955 and 1963 Father Jack served as assistant pastor at the former St. Philomena, Christ the King and the former St. Patrick parishes, all in Omaha.
He was named pastor of St. Paul Parish in Plainview in 1963. He returned to Omaha in 1967 as pastor of the former Holy Family Parish, where he served for 12 years while also serving as the archdiocese’s director of social action.
Between 1979 and 2000, he also was pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Ponca, the former Immaculate Conception in Waterbury, Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Tilden, St. Patrick in Tekamah, Holy Family in Decatur, and Immaculate Conception, St. Adalbert and St. Joseph parishes, all in Omaha. Father Jack retired in 2000.
He was preceded in death by parents, George E. and Elizabeth M. McCaslin; brothers, Msgr. Edward, William, Thomas, Columban Father James, George, and Jesuit Father Richard; sisters, Rosemary, Betty Burke and Peggy Dineen; nieces and nephews. He is survived by Sister Claire McCaslin, O.P., Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, Joseph, MD, and Father Patrick McCaslin; many nieces and nephews; brother priests of the Archdiocese of Omaha; and the thousands of parishioners he served.