John A Sweeney, OFM
1900 – 1979
Fr. John (Aurelian) Sweeney, OFM, was born on May 10, 1900 in Corinth, N.Y. After graduating from high school, he served in World War I before going to college at Niagara University and College of the Holy Cross, on a baseball scholarship, and then to St. Bonaventure College, Allegany, N.Y. He was the first student at Bona’s to have the use of a car, and later on claimed to be the first member of the Mission Band to have a car.
He entered the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., in 1931, professing temporary vows one year later. Fr. John made his solemn profession and was ordained in 1935.
His first assignment was to St. Joseph Parish, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., as an assistant. Two years later, he joined the Mission Band, and remained with this ministry for 35 years. Fr. John was a fiery preacher of the Word whose passion and eloquence moved many hearts at parish missions. He loved the friars and enjoyed entertaining them. His favorite saying was: “Don’t ever be stingy with God!” and he lived its meaning.
He died at St. Bonaventure University on Nov. 24, 1979. Fr. John was 79 years old, a professed friar for 47 years and a priest for 44 years.