Msgr. Monahan Dies March 15 in Rockford
March 19, 2020
ROCKFORD—Msgr. Thomas J. Monahan, 90, died Sunday, March 15, 2020, at Wesley Willows in Rockford.
 
Born in Des Moines, Iowa, to James and Leona (Waltenbaugh) Monahan on July 30, 1929, Msgr. Monahan attended Leo High School in Chicago, St. Joseph High School in West Park, NY; and college at Fordham University in New York and Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y. He received a bachelor’s degree in education.
 
He attended St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., where he received a master’s degree in Church history. 
 
He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Loras T. Lane at St. Mary Parish in McHenry on May 31, 1958. He earned a master’s degree in Theology from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., in 1966.
 
He was given the honor of Chaplain of His Holiness on March 6, 2005, with the title of monsignor.
 
Msgr. Monahan began his priestly service as parochial vicar at St. Mary Parish in DeKalb, from June 1958 to June 1960, then at St. Peter Parish in Spring Grove until August 1962, and at St. Patrick Parish in Rockford until June 1965. 
 
Following a year of graduate study, he became the first director of the Diocesan Retreat House in Rockford from July 1966 to June 1968, also serving as director of the Priests’ Eucharistic League from May 1967 to October 1968.
 
A few months of graduate study at the University of Chicago were followed by service as parochial vicar at St. Therese of Jesus Parish in Aurora from November 1968 to June 1970. He became executive editor of The Observer, serving in that position from June 1970 to June 1977. He served also as pastor of St. Mary Parish in Byron from October 1970 to June 1977, and was an advocate at the Diocesan Tribunal for three years from August 1975 to November 1978.
 
From late 1978 to September 1980, Msgr. Monahan was a pro-synodal judge at the Diocesan Tribunal. He was chaplain at Maria Linden (retirement center) in Rockford from February to September 1980, when he became pastor of St. Peter Parish in South Beloit, serving there until July 1983.
 
In 1982, he furthered his studies and received a Ph.D. in psychology from Walden University in Minnesota.
 
From July 1983 until August 2000, Msgr. Monahan was an advocate at the Diocesan Tribunal. He was spiritual director for the permanent deacons for a year, February 1986-March 1987, then became director of the Permanent Diaconate until July 1996. 
 
He served as chaplain for the Poor Clare Nuns in Rockford from November 1988 to September 1995, as pastor of St. Mary Parish in Durand and St. Patrick in Irish Grove from September 1995 to August 2000. He was diocesan moderator of the Priests’ Eucharistic League, from October 1999 to August 2000.
 
He retired on Aug. 1, 2000, but continued service as spiritual director for the Permanent Diaconate until Nov. 1, 2006.
 
Msgr. Monahan was preceded in death by his parents, brother Jim and sisters Margaret and Kay. He is survived by several nieces and nephews.
 
The Mass of Christian Burial was on Thursday, March 19, 2020, at 10 a.m. at St. Bernadette Parish, in Rockford.
 
Due to local, state and national concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, there will be no visitation and the funeral is not open to the public.