First and foremost John McNamee is a man of God. After completing studies and training at St. Charles Seminary, he was ordained a priest by Cardinal John O’Hara, Archbishop of Philadelphia, in 1959.
Father McNamee has served in Frackville, Chester and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Ministry among people often living on the margins of society has been his response to a deep calling to share in the lives of those in greatest need. John McNamee has been a strong Catholic Christian and ecumenical presence in the innercity. His mission: to be the heart and hands of Christ livingly reaching out to bring light and hope from darkness and destitution.
Father McNamee was the founder and is now a board member of the Southwest Community Enrichment Center. He was responsible for bringing Dorothy Day’s Catholic Worker Movement to Philadelphia and was instrumental in the development and reorganization of the Ludlow Youth Community Center. The beautiful St. Malachy’s Church and renovated elementary school are a tribute to Father McNamee’s resolve to provide the best possible facilities and programs for the people of the surrounding community. He is helped in this endeavor by friends who generously contribute to further his good works.
Personal prayer has borne much fruit in the life of Father McNamee and nurtured his committment and compassion. He is a poet whose books “Clay Vessels” and “Endurance - The Rhythm of Faith” are truly inspirational. His “Diary of a City Priest”, like his poetry, champions the cause of the poor. The “Diary” received a Catholic Press Association Book Award and has been made into a movie for Public Television. This brought recognition at the New York, Philadelphia and Sundance Film Festivals.
In 1994 Father John McNamee received the Adela Dwyer St. Thomas of Villanova
Peace Award. In 2001 he was a featured speaker at an International Conference on Literature and Religion at FW Jen University, Taiwan. In that same year he also received a Doctor of Humanities honarary degree from Villanova University.
John McNamee, priest and poet, social activist, consoler of the sick and dying, is a uniquely effective force for good in church and society int he Philadelphia community