Msgr. Hunt Remembered As Teacher, Pastor, Vicar

Msgr. Hunt

A Mass of Christian Burial for Msgr. James A. Hunt was celebrated in the chapel at the Immaculate Conception Pastoral Center, Douglaston.

He died Jan. 23 at Long Island Jewish Hospital after suffering a heart attack at Bishop Mugavero Residence, Douglaston, where he had been living. He was 87.

A native of Astoria, he attended Cathedral Prep and College, Brooklyn, and the Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, L.I. He was ordained June 4, 1955 by Archbishop Thomas E. Molloy at St. James Pro-Cathedral in Downtown Brooklyn.

He served as an assistant at Transfiguration, Williamsburg, 1955, and St. Peter Claver, Bedford-Stuyvesant, 1955-57, before being assigned to the faculty of Cathedral Prep, Brooklyn. When the school opened its Queens division in Elmhurst in 1963, he was transfered there.

In 1964, he became a member of the Diocesan Schools Office until 1972 when he was appointed administrator of St. Vincent de Paul parish, Williamsburg.

He was named an Episcopal Vicar in 1974, serving in that office until 1979 when he became pastor of St. Peter Claver.

In 1995, he was named pastor of Our Lady of the Presentation, Brownsville, and the administrator of nearby Our Lady of Loreto.

From July, 2000 until 2011, he served on the island of St. Lucia in the West Indies.

Named a monsignor in 1976, he also has served as a member of the Priests’ Personnel Board and as vice president of the Association of Brooklyn Clergy.

“For many of us who attended Cathedral in Brooklyn, Msgr. Hunt will be remembered as our first year high school English teacher at Cathedral, and prefect at the old St. Joseph’s school annex building,” said Dennis Van Houten, class of 1965.

Classmate George Kunzman added, “I remember him well from 1961. I still have a book he had us buy: Story Poems or something like that. And he made us read a poem in there, my favorite to this day: ‘The Cremation of Sam McGee.’ Finally a subject that a 13-year-old guy could embrace!”

Deacon Matthew Oellinger, director of Bishop Mugavero Residence, said that Msgr. Hunt was loved by everyone who knew him. He said that every month parishioners from St. Peter Claver would come to visit him in Douglaston.

Msgr. Hunt is survived by his sister, Mrs. Catherine Beirne of Long Island.