Bishop John Conway McNabb, O.S.A., passed away in the early morning of February 26, 2016, at the age of 90. He was the first bishop of the Diocese of Chulucanas, Peru (created as a Prelature in 1963, and elevated to the status of Diocese in 1988).
John McNabb, born in Wisconsin, U.S.A., in 1925, entered the Augustinian Order after completing his secondary studies, and professed his first vows in 1945. After his ordination to the priesthood in 1952, he worked in various high schools of the Chicago Province. He was also Province Secretary during a number of years. One of his high school students, at Mendel High School, was Daniel Turley, who later entered the Order and is today Bishop McNabb’s successor as the second bishop of Chulucanas.
Bishop McNabb was named Prelate of the newly created Prelature of Chulucanas, and as such, participated in the last session of the Second Vatican Council. He was ordained a bishop in 1967, and continued to serve as Bishop of Chulucanas until his retirement in 2000.
Augustinians who participated in the Second Vatican Council. John McNabb (back row, second from the right)
During his more than 30 years of episcopal service in Peru, Bishop McNabb was a courageous leader, offering his prophetic and courageous vision to the local church and also through the Peruvian bishops’ conference in which he was well known and highly respected. He was instrumental in the implementation of the pastoral program “New Image of the Parish” of the Better World Movement. Chulucanas was the first diocese in Peru to adapt the pastoral program which has since been adopted by numerous dioceses in Peru and in many other countries, a program which effectively applied the principles of the Second Vatican Council in the renewal of the life of the Church, working to create communities in which lay people are formed to take active and committed roles in the life of the parish and the diocese.
Bishop McNabb was loved and respected by his priests, the Augustinians and other religious and laity who worked in the Diocese, and by many loyal friends. His legacy will live on for many years to come.