HARTFORD – Father James M. Weeks, 81, a Missionary of Our Lady of La Salette, of 85 New Park Ave., who was arrested and threatened with death while promoting peace during his years of ministry in Argentina, died on March 30, 2015, at St. Mary Home in West Hartford.
He was born Sept. 3, 1933, in Clinton, Mass., a son of the late James A. and Anna (McNamara) Weeks. He attended high school in Massachusetts and Hartford, and received his associate’s degree from the La Salette Seminary in Altamont, N.Y., before entering the novitiate of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette on July 1, 1955, in Bloomfield. After completing his studies in La Salette seminaries in Altamont and Ipswich, Mass., he was ordained on May 26, 1962.
Father Weeks was assigned to minister at the La Salette Shrine in Ipswich. In 1964, he volunteered to minister in the La Salette Missions in Argentina, where he worked for 48 years to promote peace, justice and human rights, even at the cost of unjust arrest and persecution. While in Argentina, he began a La Salette mission in Las Termas. On Aug. 3, 1976, while teaching at a seminary, he and five seminarians were arrested in Cordoba by the military. They experienced physical abuse and were threatened with death.
After his release, Father Weeks returned to the States and spent a year in Washington, testifying on behalf of the Washington Office on Latin America at congressional hearings about the dictatorship in Argentina. He then returned to South America, where additional assignments included ministry with pastoral teams in the Carmelite Prelature of Sicuani in Peru, serving as assistant to the superior of the La Salette Region of Argentina, directing the Jose Ignacio Diaz House of Formation in Cordoba, and pioneering the mission in Bolivia, serving in Tarija and Cochabamba for many years.
He became a member of the Hartford House Community of La Salette priests in Hartford in 2013, and, more recently, had been in residence at St. Mary Home.
In addition to his La Salette confreres, Father Weeks is survived by his sister, Janet Maddocks; two brothers, John and Robert; a close cousin, Jane Kane, all of whom are from Clinton, Mass.; and many nieces and nephews.
A funeral Mass was celebrated April 6 in the La Salette Chapel of Hartford House. Burial followed in Mount St. Benedict Cemetery in Bloomfield.