Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
September 10, 1982     Arkansas Catholic
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September 10, 1982

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PAGE 8 THE GUARDIAN, SEPTEMBER 17, 1982 Msgr. O'Connell Whiz On History of Center By Karl Christ Little Rock - If you ever want to know anything about St. John's Catholic Center or the former Seminary, the person to see is Msgr. James E. O'ConnelL His title is Resource Person for the Diocese of Little Rock. And the term is an apt description of his duties. The 74-year-old priest has been at the Center for the past 38 years and when anyone wants to know some historical fact, he just asks Monsignor and the answer is im- mediately forthcoming. But that is just a small part of his duties for His Excellency Bishop Andrew J. McDonald of Little Rock. Msgr. O'Connell is the manager of the Seminary Endowment Fund, resource person for the diocesan archives and Calvary Cemetery, co-ordinates affairs with the Director of Seminarians, is chaplain to the Serra Club and is auxiliary chaplain at the Comp/ete Travel Arrangements Malor Credit Cards Accepted HORIZON TRAVEL AGENCY Bob Peters, Manager 3901 McCainPark Drive N. Little Rock. AR 72116 Phone 7$|-22 ! ! JJ .......... iAillllllllillilli Hillcrest Shoppers Guide ROY RHEA, Owner hen Drug Co. HILLCREST -- L.R. 2801 Kavanaugh 61-4131 FREE DELIVERY Guardian sells for its advertisers DAN'S SHOE SHOP RAY AND CLARENCE TROILLETT The Best in Shoe Repairing e VISA Phone 666-9731 2903 Kavanaugh MASTERCHARGE DIAMOND LIQUORS Little Rock Air Force Base. And to just say that he keeps busy is a big misunderstatement. A native of Brockton, Mass., Msgr. O'Connell attended public grade school in the northern city. He went to Boston College Prep for his high school education and then ob- tained his Bachelor of Arts degree at Little Rock College and his Ph.D. from St. John's Seminary. After being ordained Feb. 5, 1933, he engaged in missionary activity throughout the state in addition to being assigned to teach mathematics at Catholic High School in Little Rock from 1933 to 1944. Then he was assigned to teach at St. john's Seminary and has been at the Center since that time. He was rector of the seminary until it closed in 1967 due to the drop in number of seminarians. He will note his 50th ordination anniversary next February. As director of seminarian funds, Msgr. O'Connell solicits support for the education of seminarians. "I contact businessmen and all Catholic people," he said. "The money usually comes as donations to burses. The donors usually are people who want to memorialize some member of their family or the clergy. "No, '' he said in reply to a question, "I didn't start the burse project. It began in 1930. It is a worthy project and one in which I am MSGR. JAMES E. O'Connell secretary, Irene Bell. discusses a burse donation with deeply interested." Concerning his duties as chaplain of the Serra Club, he said, "The club meets twice a month -- on First Friday for 6:30 A.M. Mass and the third Friday for a luncheon at St. Vincent Infirmary. They also have an outing once a year for all the priests of the diocese and sponsor a dinner annually to honor priests on the anniversary of their or- dination." As for his duties with Calvary Cemetery, he responded, "I've been in charge of the cemetery for a long time. We have a board now which is working to improve the grounds. But it seems they always refer to me for resolution of their projects. "I've been a priest for a long time," he continued, "so I have the memory of events that occurred a long time ago. I'm assisting in bringing the history of the diocese from its beginnings up to its present level." Speaking of his work with Diocesan Seminarian Director Father Joseph M. Correnti, he said, "I talk with him and we figure out the placement of seminary students and the support of them. Since the seminary here closed, we send them to five seminaries - the University of Dallas, one in New Orleans, La., one in Covington, La., St. Meinrad's, Ind., and one in Rome." And every Weekend, Msgr. O'Connell drives out to the Air Force Base at Jacksonville to offer Mass. Reminescing a bit, Msgr. O'Connell said: "I spent a long period of years as head of St. John's Seminary here. I remember our highest enrollment ever was 202 in 1950. "Then the number of seminarians drop after Vatican Council II. The became so acute that it became seminarians to other schools on a basis," he explained. As for vocations -- "Locally, I vocations are improving. Nationally, I t Asked his thoughts on the number of seminarians, he seconds and then said, "I believe volves changes in the church liturgy is the primary reason. "Another major factor," he "was the greater appointment for outside of the priesthood. Before, tl selling was done by priests. Now, a lot done by professional people who dained." Just then, the telephone rang signor was called by his secretary. So the interview was over as he into his busy work schedule. i The Guardian sells for its advert/setS. Pocahontas Distinctive LADI ES' and MEN'S APPAREL Always at Popular Prices MOST MODERN BEAUTY SHOP IN TOWI BURKE'S SHOP POCAHONTAS PHONE 892-3191 Phone 892-4538 Highway 62 West Pocahontas, Arkansas "Pete" Zakrzewski Fran Yaniger Lamps Lamp Shades Repairs 5608 R Street Little Rock, AR 72207 501/666.2628 Mr. Frank's Optical Service Ten Years In the Same Location Optician... 5903 "R" St. - Ph. 666-9293 FRANK ZAKRZEWSKI In the Heights Shopping Center "The Smiling Irishman" RX Filled McDaniel The REXALL Store John A. DeClerk, R. Ph. G.E. APPLIANCES PHONE 892-5231 106 E. EVERETT IJl International Harvester BALTZ EQUIPMENT COMPANY Highway 67 and 62 at "Y" Box 130 - Pocahontas, Arkansas 72455 PHONES: 892-5254 Farm Machinery , Safe and Dependable Since PFIEFER-HILLCREST [ PLUMBING& HEATING BANK OF Prompt and E tficient POCAHONTAS Phone 892-5286 , 376-6000 Pocahontas, Ark. F.D.