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McGoldrick, Bernard (Bernie)

Oakhurst, CA, April 11, 2000

Bernard McGoldrick, 71, of Oakhurst CA died 11 April 2000.  Ordained a Jesuit priest in 1961, he married Catherine Mullen in 1969 and fathered two children, Bernie John and Jennifer.  Bernie studied under the renown Jesuit scholars John Courtney Murray and Gus Weigel at Woodstock MD.  Capitalizing on God's gift (Bernie once told me he was able to conceptualize political models at age 8),  he became a political scientist and spent his last 28 years teaching at Fresno State University.

His loving, humorous, sustained critique of both church and state animated his students and colleagues in both arenas. His crowning achievement at Fresno was the creation of a program of courses in peace politics. As an active participant in Mountain Area affairs (close to Yosemite) his involvement frequently took the form of protest of injustices.

From 1971-73 he was president of the Society of Priests for a Free Ministry (later Federation of Christian Ministry).  He wrote several radical essays on a new church, a new priestly ministry, a new Jesuit order, new peace strategies, traces of which can be detected in events that later bore fruit. His serious thinking was not for the faint-hearted.  Bernie insisted that the Gospel inspired such thinking.

Bernie was a gentle and genuine man.  Kindness and humility marked him. All of this was suffused in a humor that arose from his joy in God and in living. In the early 1970's Bernie and Cappy welcomed our family to their home often when we lived in Los Angeles.  From Minnesota I visited him annually since 1930.  On my last treasured visit this February 2, he was suffering from the bone marrow disease which eventually brought Sister Death.  But that full day was a glorious reunion of souls and minds, bathed in lots of laughter.

As he opened his eyes the last two minutes of his life, his daughter Jennifer sang songs to welcome him into paradise.  He had asked God to let him become as a child so that he could accept his imminent death.  God granted him that final wish.  His gravestone will read: "Husband, Father, Priest."  That he was, and a beloved friend and prophet of God also.  May he rest in peace.       

Terry Dosh (Bread Rising June 2000)