Spiritual Journey Leads Back Home

Thousands of Oswego alumni trace their spiritual roots back to the late Rev. Robert E. Hall, longtime chaplain of the Newman Center and for whom the present-day center is named. But for the Rev. John F. Hogan Jr. ’80, the connections go even deeper.

The Rev. John F. Hogan Jr. '80 is the new pastor at St. Mary's Church in Oswego.

Fr. Hall baptized young John and, earlier, married his parents, at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Oswego. Today, Fr. John is marrying couples and baptizing babies in the same church where he began his own spiritual journey. He assumed the role of pastor at St. Mary’s this past summer.

Fr. John wanted to be a priest from the earliest grades. He studied at Wadhams Hall Seminary College and earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy at SUNY Oswego.

At Oswego’s Newman Center, he worked on the Student Peer Ministry team, under the Rev. Murray Elwood. He still keeps in touch with some of the volunteers, including Kathy Hassey ’81. “It was good for me to be part of a church with people my own age. We could go out and party at Buckland’s but still come to Mass on the weekends,” he says. “The church was important to them, but they weren’t studying to be a priest.”

After Oswego, he entered Christ the King Seminary and worked for two years as a victim advocate for the U. S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C.

He was ordained in 1988 after earning his master’s in divinity, and served in several parishes. While at St. Charles Borromeo in Westvale, he was lucky enough to reconnect with Fr. Hall, who was retired but volunteered at the parish.

With the pastorship at St. Mary’s, Fr. John has come full circle, serving the people he grew up with, including his parents and brother. Now visitors to the parish rectory are greeted by Fr. John’s 2 1/2-year-old Shetland Sheepdog, Tavis.

A special joy for him is when Oswego State students come to Mass, some walking from campus to attend. “I tell them I graduated from Oswego,” Fr. John says. “I hope it sows some seeds.”

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