Father John Rosse; chaplain, pastor - Catholic Courier
Father John "Jack" Rosse Father John "Jack" Rosse

Father John Rosse; chaplain, pastor

Father John "Jack" Rosse, longtime chaplain at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, passed away Nov. 14, 2013, at the age of 85.

Father Rosse was born in Rochester in 1928 and as a child belonged to St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Irondequoit. He entered St. Andrew’s Minor Seminary in 1942, went on to St. Bernard’s Seminary in 1948, and was ordained June 5, 1954, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Rochester’s Sacred Heart Cathedral.

After his ordination Father Rosse served as assistant pastor at St. Mary Parish in Canandaigua from 1954-58. In 1958 he spent several months in Cayuga County, where he served as assistant pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Cayuga and its mission, St. Aloysius in Auburn, and as chaplain at Auburn Correctional Facility. After a short stint as assistant pastor at St. Andrew Parish in Rochester, he became chaplain at St. Mary’s Hospital in January 1959. He spent the next 24 years ministering to patients, families and staff at the Rochester hospital. Father Rosse found hospital work to be very fulfilling, he told the Catholic Courier in 2004.

"Not only did you take care of the spiritual needs of the patients, but you also had a great deal to do with the staff — the medical staff, the nursing staff, the auxiliary staff. You took care of all those needs, their spiritual needs. It was a full job and it was very interesting," he said.

During his years at St. Mary’s Father Rosse taught religion and medical ethics at St. Mary’s School of Nursing. He also served as chaplain at the Monroe County Jail and as chaplain for the Rochester Americans hockey team.

In 1983 he became pastor at Greece’s Holy Name of Jesus Parish, where he served until his retirement in 1998. After he retired he moved to St. Margaret Mary Parish in Irondequoit, which later became part of St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish. There he helped celebrate Mass and the sacraments and preached at least once a month. Parishioners looked forward to his homilies, noted Father Raymond Booth, one of Father Rosse’s close friends.

"He always had not only a message, but usually a story to go with it. He was a very happy and upbeat priest," Father Booth said.

In his spare time Father Rosse also loved to travel and crisscrossed the globe in his retirement. He made many new friends during his countless cruises and excursions, and many of them kept in touch with the priest, said Father Booth, who was three years behind Father Rosse at St. Bernard’s. The two priests later deepened their friendship over a shared love of golf, Father Booth said.

Father Rosse enjoyed his life as a priest and if he were given the chance to do it all over again, he wouldn’t have changed much, he told the Courier in 2010.

"My life as a priest has been a life of relationships, of people; the people that I have met and the people that I have ministered to me during this 56 years. That’s to me what has given me the joy of being a priest," he said.

Father Rosse will lie in state at St. Margaret Mary Church, 401 Rogers Parkway, Irondequoit, on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, from 4 to 7 p.m. with evening prayer at 7 p.m.

His funeral Mass will be celebrated Nov. 21, 2013, at 10 a.m. at St. Margaret Mary Church, located at 401 Rogers Parkway in Irondequoit.

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