Tribute to Monsignor John Gilchrist

Tribute to Monsignor John Gilchrist

On behalf of the New Jersey Reentry Corporation, we extend our condolences and thoughts to our dear friends Sister Dorris and Assemblyman Tom Giblin. We are internally grateful for the work and partnership we have been able to create and accomplish over the years with Monsignor Gilchrist by our side.

Historically, in many instances, individuals were excluded from apprenticeships for felonies and addiction. However, Monsignor urged many NJ Building Trades locals to give our guys and gals a chance. Thankfully, no one could ever say “no” to Monsignor; he broke many barriers for our clients.

One of our favorite stories was after the Newark Saint Patrick’s Day parade, our State Trooper detail hadn’t had lunch, so NJRC staff visited Monsignor at Holy Cross Rectory, Harrison, where Sister Doris cooked hamburgers with our State Trooper detail. Monsignor thanked the guys for their service, blessed them, and blessed our staff. It was memorable in its simplicity.

After Trenton, we would irregularly see Monsignor and Sister Doris. We had the occasional sandwich at an event. We would talk, laugh, and sometimes pray. There were few persons as humble and as good as John J. Gilchrist, Monsignor embodied “servant leadership.”

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More about the moving life and work of Monsignor Gilchrist

For more than fifty years of ministry, Monsignor John Gilchrist was a parish priest, high school teacher, and chaplain. In addition to his role as pastor emeritus of Holy Cross parish in Harrison, New Jersey, Gilchrist was a columnist for the Catholic Advocate, the Catholic newspaper for the Archdiocese of Newark, as well as a liaison to labor for the Archdiocese of Newark. Gilchrist was also the former chairperson of the Newark archdiocesan commission for interreligious affairs, and was a leading voice on the front lines of social justice and interfaith dialogue issues.

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