Msgr. John Simonin served the diocese for 52 years, dies at 88

Msgr. John A. Simonin

Msgr. John A. SimoninMOUNT PLEASANT—Msgr. John Anthony Simonin, retired pastor of St. Mary of the Annunciation Church in Charleston, died July 15. He was 88.

The Mass of Christian Burial was held July 19 at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, and burial was in Holy Cross Cemetery on James Island.
Msgr. Simonin had assignments in Beaufort, Bluffton, Charleston, Johns Island, Folly Beach, James Island and Charleston. He was a director at Camp St. Mary’s, moderator of the Council of Catholic Women Charleston Deanery, chaplain of the veterans hospital, a member of the diocesan priests’ personnel committee and a consultor.

He was born on June 5, 1922, in Charleston, a son of Leo L. Simonin and Mary Danehey Simonin. He attended St. Joseph’s Parochial School and Bishop England High School. His seminary, college and theological formation took place at St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman, Ala., and St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Md.

He was ordained May 25, 1947, at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist by Bishop Emmet M. Walsh.

During his first two decades as a priest he served as pastor of St. Andrew Church in Bluffton, St. Anthony Church in Hardeeville, St. Anthony Church in Ridgeland, and the mission on Hilton Head Island.

Msgr. John A. SimoninMsgr. Simonin was also pastor of St. Patrick Church in Charleston, Holy Spirit Church on Johns Island, Our Lady of Good Counsel Church on Folly Beach, Church of the Nativity on James Island, St. Peter Church in Beaufort, and St. Joseph Church in Charleston.

He retired as pastor of St. Mary of the Annunciation in 1999.

In the 52 years of his ordained service to the diocese, Msgr. Simonin distinguished his pastoral career in two fundamental ways: his work in the rural areas of the Lowcountry and service to the sick through hospital ministry.

Father Simonin spent many years in mission areas around Beaufort, Bluffton and St. Helena Island, where he traveled extensively to celebrate the sacraments, visit the sick, and build a sense of community among the scattered Catholic population of the rural and coastal areas.

A focal point in his ministry from the 1940s through the 1960s was Camp St. Mary’s in Ridgeland, where he was assistant director and later director.

He is survived by his sisters, Rosemary F. Simonin and Dolores S. Puckhaber, both of Mount Pleasant, and a brother, Leo L. Simonin Jr. of James Island.

Messages of condolence may be sent in care of his niece: Patricia Henrikson, 132 N. Hermitage Road, Beaufort, SC 29902.