The Most Reverend John M. Dougherty, D.D., Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Scranton, died on Saturday, April 16, 2022, at his family’s home in Scranton. He was 89.
Bishop Dougherty provided 65 years of faithful service to the people of the Diocese of Scranton, including 27 years as a bishop. He will be remembered for his wisdom, pastoral concern, deep spirituality, and consistent presence in hospitals and nursing homes ministering to the sick and dying.
He was born April 29, 1932, in Scranton, the son of the late Edward A. and Irene C. Kern Dougherty. A member of St. Paul’s Parish, Scranton, he attended the parochial grade school and graduated from St. Paul’s High School in June 1949. In September of the same year, Bishop Dougherty entered St. Charles College, Catonsville, Md., where he studied for two years.
He began his priestly studies on September 19, 1951, at St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, Md. Bishop Dougherty earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Mary’s in June 1953. Three years later, he received a Master of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. Bishop Dougherty returned to further studies at St. Mary’s where he earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology in 1957.
Bishop Dougherty was ordained to the priesthood on June 15, 1957, in the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Scranton, by the Most Reverend Jerome D. Hannan, late Bishop of Scranton.
On June 29, 1957, Bishop Dougherty was appointed assistant pastor of St. Ann Parish, Tobyhanna, a community he served for more than seven years. In preparation for the opening of St. Pius X Seminary, Dalton, he was named Professor of Ascetical Theology by Bishop Hannan on March 28, 1962.
Bishop Dougherty was given additional responsibility in September 1964, which brought him to his first post in the Chancery. He was appointed Director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.
On May 19, 1968, Pope Paul VI named Bishop Dougherty a Chaplain of His Holiness with the title of Monsignor. In the same year, he was appointed Vicar for Religious by Bishop J. Carroll McCormick. Four years later, he was appointed Assistant Chancellor of the Diocese and he assumed the duties of the Diocesan Pro-Life Director in February 1976.
On September 6, 1977, Bishop Dougherty was appointed Chancellor of the Diocese of Scranton and Pro-Synodal Examiner.
He was named a Prelate of Honor on November 2, 1978, by Pope John Paul II. On June 7, 1984, the day of Bishop James C. Timlin’s installation as the Eighth Bishop of Scranton, Bishop Dougherty was appointed Vicar General, Moderator of the Curia and Diocesan Consultor.
Bishop Dougherty was named pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Scranton, on September 4, 1985. The parish community included the churches of Saint Patrick, Holy Cross, St. John the Baptist and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Pope John Paul II named Bishop Dougherty the Titular Bishop of Sufetula and Auxiliary to the Bishop of Scranton on February 7, 1995. His episcopal ordination took place on March 7, 1995, in the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Scranton, with Bishop Timlin serving as consecrator.
On June 30, 1995, Bishop Dougherty was appointed Rector of Villa St. Joseph, Dunmore, a position he held for nearly nine years. On March 1, 2004, Bishop Joseph F. Martino gave him significant additional collaborative responsibility in the daily administration of the Diocese by naming him Vicar for Administration, a newly created central administrative post.
Bishop Dougherty continued his service to the Diocese through appointments on the Council of Priests and Board of Consultors between 2005 and 2010. The Holy See accepted his resignation on August 31, 2009, two years after reaching the mandatory retirement age.
Even after retirement, as Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus, Bishop Dougherty served in residence at Christ the King Parish in Archbald prior to Bishop Joseph C. Bambera appointing him to serve as Administrator, pro tem, at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish, Jermyn, in June 2019.
Bishop Dougherty was also a member of the American Catholic Historical Association and was elected by Catholic Distance University in Hamilton, Va., to serve on its board of trustees.
Bishop Dougherty is survived by his sisters-in-law Margaret Laboranti Dougherty and Sallie Larson Dougherty, 20 nieces and nephews, and numerous grand nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, his two brothers, Edward A. Dougherty, M.D., and Joseph M. Dougherty, as well as a niece, Mary Elizabeth Dougherty, preceded him in death.
Viewing will take place Monday, April 25, 2022, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter, 315 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton from 2 – 8 p.m. Solemn Vespers will be celebrated at 7 p.m.
Viewing will continue on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter from 9 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. A Pontifical Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of Scranton, directly following at 11:00 a.m.
Interment will be in Cathedral Cemetery, Scranton.