Knights of Columbus

Msgr. Connel A. McHugh Council #7141

P.O. Box 360   •    Brodheadsville, PA  18322-0360   •   
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Msgr. Connel A. McHugh council was chartered as Knights of Columbus council #7141 on June 30th, 1978. It was through the efforts of the then District Deputy, Joe Lewis, that the required thirty men became our charter members. The first Chaplin was Rev. Robert J. Gibson, who was then pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace Church. Meetings were held in the original Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, on Route 209, in Brodheadsville. the first Grand Knight was Edward J. Rauss and the first Financial Secretary was Walter Machalick.


Council #7141, Knights of Columbus, bears the name of Monsignor Connel A. McHugh, who was Pastor of the Pocono Missions. He was a man one just could not forget. Only God can assay the impact he made on thousands of people in the Poconos.  So that present and future Council members may be aware of who he was, and his accomplishments, this biography was distributed to our members and filed with our Council Historian for future reference.  It is recommended that all new First Degree members of our Council be given a copy of this document.


Right Reverend Connel A. Mc Hugh was born November 7, 1876, studied for the priesthood at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, where he was a brilliant student.  He was ordained by Bishop Michael J. Hoban, second Bishop of Scranton, in 1905. In 1931 he became a Monsignor, was named a Papal Chamberlain in 1932 and received the title of Right Reverend Monsignor.  He celebrated his golden jubilee in 1955 and died on July 26, 1968.

He was Pastor of St. Joseph’s, Matamoras, and impressed Bishop Hoban with his ability to function successfully in the mountains, and when Father Boland, Pastor of St. Mary’s, Mt. Pocono, was transferred to a parish in Scranton, Father McHugh was made pastor of St. Mary’s.  Bishop Hoban died shortly thereafter, but his assignment of Father McHugh to the mountains was certainly one of his greatest, bringing a new era in the Pocono Mountains for the Catholic Church.

Father McHugh was fifty years old and ordained twenty-one years when he came to the Pocono Mountains. The next forty-two years would make him a legend.  Bishop O’Reilly became the new Bishop.  The financial condition of the country, lack of money, unemployment as well as a drop in tourism prevented the building of Churches.  However, the new Pastor of the Pocono Catholic Missions was not standing idle, it was a time of great activity for him.  He established relationships that would last for a lifetime, a time for visitors and some vacationers still coming to the mountains even during the depression and they found a dedicated and sincere priest who never forgot their names, or forgot to correspond with them, welcomed them on their annual return, and never missed telling them how much they meant to him and his Missions.  He even visited them when in Philadelphia, New York, or Florida.  It was clear that he was an extraordinary priest and had been assigned to the Mountain Missions.  He had an affable personality which he used to advance the work of God.  He remembered little things about little people, he made everyone feel important, that they counted and that he liked them.

He entertained Cardinals and Bishops on their travels through the mountains. He had a fatherly way with young priests, who found him encouraging and understanding. He had boundless energy that enabled him to outwork his assistants.

Bishop O’Reilly was succeeded by Bishop Hafey, and it was during his tenure that now Monsignor McHugh brought about the big Catholic Development in the Pocono Mountains. He had spent twelve years preparing the soil and now the time was right to proceed. The Pocono Mountains became a major tourist attraction, with this came the establishment of large and small resorts, golf courses and restaurants. Three new churches were added to the missions - Our Lady of Victory, Tannersville - Our Lady of Fatima, Promised Land - Our Lady Queen of Peace, Brodheadsville.

The years had flown by and Monsignor was now eighty years of age. It had been thirty years since he came to the Pocono Mountains. No one expected an eighty year old man to undertake what he announced in 1957 -- the construction of a parochial school complex in Cresco for the Catholic children of the Mountains. Bishop Hafey was succeeded by Bishop Hannon, an ardent supporter of Catholic education, although he may have had misgivings about the age of Monsignor McHugh to begin this project, he had great confidence in him, and gave his approval to the project.

Ground was broken for the school and convent and it was dedicated in 1961. It was named the Pocono Catholic Mission School and was staffed by the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It was the crowning achievement of a lifetime. This school complex is today known as Monsignor McHugh Elementary School.

In 1966 Monsignor McHugh was ninety years of age. He was still functioning as pastor with the help of and assistance of young priests. The church was going through many changes, population in the Missions was steadily increasing but Monsignor’s health was failing. Bishop Hannon died while in Rome and was succeeded by Bishop J. Carroll McCormick who made the decision to divide the Pocono Missions into individual parishes.

Surrounded by those he loved, brother priests and friends, Monsignor McHugh died on the feast of St. Ann, July 26, 1968 at the age of ninety-two. He served God - his church - his fellow man for sixty-three years as a priest. It was the end of an era. He was loved by all, Catholic - Protestant - Jew in the Pocono Mountains. His favorite expression was “We are all God’s Children.”

May the spirit of Christian concern, unity, peace, and tranquility shown by Monsignor Mc Hugh in the Pocono Missions be an inspiration to our Knights of Columbus Council, which proudly bears his name.

Facts Compiled by our Brother Knight, The late Theodore Schultz February 12, 1981
Reissued: June, 1988 on the occasion of The tenth Anniversary of the Council #7141
Reissued: October 2003 at the 25th Anniversary Dinner Dance for the Council #7141
Published to the Internet December 30, 2005

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