Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Friday, February 23, 2018

Obit-Johnson_MsgrCharlesBLOOMFIELD – Msgr. Charles Birkery Johnson, 78, of the Archbishop Daniel A. Cronin Residence, former rector of St. Thomas Seminary and former rector of the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, died on Sept. 22 at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford.

He was the director of the Mission Office of the Archdiocese of Hartford at the time of his death.

Born on Nov. 8, 1932, in Manchester, he was the son of the late Charles H. and Rosalie (Riordan) Johnson. He graduated from St. James School in Manchester and studied at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield before completing his studies at the Basselin Foundation in Washington and The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

He was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Henry J. O’Brien on May 26, 1960, at St. Lawrence O’Toole Church in Hartford.

Then-Father Johnson assisted at St. Pius X Parish in Wolcott, St. Patrick in Collinsville and St. Brendan in New Haven from 1960-62, then became an instructor at St. Thomas Seminary in 1963. He was named vice rector of St. Thomas Seminary in 1975 and rector in 1980. He was appointed as administrator of the seminary in 1985.

He also was appointed as a minister of confirmation in 1985-86.

In 1995, he was appointed a prelate of honor with the title of monsignor.

In June 1986, he was appointed rector/pastor of the Cathedral of St. Joseph. In 1991, he was appointed to a three-year term as vicar for priests, a position to which he was reappointed in 1997 and 2000. In December 2001, he also served as pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in South Windsor.

Msgr. Johnson was appointed pastor emeritus of St. James in Manchester in September 2003. From 2005-2007, when he started a medical leave of absence, he was the administrator and pastor of Resurrection Parish in Wallingford.

Msgr. Johnson retired in September 2007, but became director of the Mission Office in September 2010.

He is survived locally by his cousins Mary Spellman of Norwich and Kevin Riordan of Simsbury, and by other cousins.

Archbishop Henry J. Mansell was the principal celebrant of a Mass of Christian Burial on Sept. 26 in the chapel at the Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary. Msgr. Gerard G. Schmitz, vicar for priests and president/rector of St. Thomas Seminary, preached the homily.

In his remarks, Archbishop Mansell said that the chalice used during the funeral Mass was given to Msgr. Johnson by his parents on his day of ordination.

Burial was in St. James Cemetery in Manchester.

Memorial donations may be made to St. Thomas Seminary, 467 Bloomfield Ave., Bloomfield, CT 06002 or to the Archdiocesan Mission Office at St. Thomas Seminary, 467 Bloomfield Ave., Bloomfield, CT 06002.