Fr. John Patrick Riley, C.S.C.

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Community Corner


Fr. John Patrick Riley, C.S.C.
Pastor | July, 2013 – Present


Fr. JP 1Fr. JP 2

Tell us a bit about yourself…

Hometown: Lockport, NY

Other Places Lived: Buffalo, NY, South Bend, IN, Charlottesville, VA, Wuerzburg, Germany, El Paso, TX, Notre Dame, IN, Cascade, CO, Fort Portal, Uganda, South Bend/Notre Dame, IN, Colorado Springs, CO, South Bend, IN, Portland, OR

Academic & Professional Background:

  • 1979 | B.A. in History/Political Science | Canisius College of Buffalo, NY | Summa Cum Laude & Army ROTC commission
  • 1982 | Juris Doctor | Notre Dame Law School | Commission Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps
  • 1982-1987 | Active Duty with Army Third Infantry Division, Germany | ARCOM/Army Commendation Medal | Air Defense Artillery Center, Fort Bliss, Texas | Army Achievement Medal and MSM/Meritorious Service Medal
  • 1992 | Master of Divinity | University of Notre Dame
  • 1993 | Perpetual Vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross
  • 1994 | Ordained to the priesthood
  • 1993-2013 | Transitional Deacon, Parish Priest and Pastor | Assignments include: Christ the King Parish (South Bend, IN), Kyarusozi Parish Community (Fort Portal, Uganda), St. Joseph Parish (South Bend, IN), Sacred Heart Parish (Notre Dame), All Saints Parish (Lockport, NY), Tri-Community Parish (Colorado Springs, CO), St. Joseph Parish (South Bend, IN)

Describe a typical day in the life of the Parish Administrator:
I commute in from the residence at the University of Portland, share in common prayer with staff and volunteers before morning hospitality, hold confessions / reconciliation at 11:30 and daily Mass at 12:05 pm, then paperwork, staff and other meetings, individual pastoral counseling, and a commute back to UP.

What is your favorite part of your job at Saint André Bessette Catholic Church?
The daily Mass and other sacramental ministry is always the favorite part of my work.  It is the ministry for which I was ordained a priest.

Now for some easy starter questions…

Favorite Book: The Bible. Big surprise!

Favorite Movie: The Searchers or The Quiet Man – hard to beat the Duke in his prime!

Favorite Artist & Song: The Allman Brothers Band – Dreams

Favorite Quote: “A man’s got to know his limitations.” -Clint Eastwood

Favorite Place in Portland: Forest Park, so far…

Okay, now for some tougher questions…

Who would you call a hero or inspiration in your life?
My parents, John and Patricia, were the first and best examples of heroic faith and virtue to me. They remain a source of continual inspiration to me.

Do you collect anything? If so, what?
I have collected everything from fossils, dinosaurs, coins, stamps, and comic books to my current collectibles of memories, memory stones, and running race t-shirts.

What was the most profound spiritual moment in your life?
No one moment can be singled out.  Any good for others that God accomplishes through me is sufficiently profound to me.

If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?
Turn it over to my religious community with a request and recommendation that it be divided between the Holy Cross District of East Africa and St. Andre Bessette, Portland. (Note: our Development Director will probably ask me to sign a pledge form to this regard!)

Do you have any regrets? Any that you are willing share?
I regret my failure to deal with malaria and nervous exhaustion in Western Uganda. My time in East Africa was all too short.

What 3 things would you pack if you were going to be stranded on a deserted island?
My profession crucifix, Liturgy of the Hours books, Mass kit and missal.

What did you want to be when you grew up? What do you still want to be when you grow up?
Everything from a paleontologist to lawyer to priest.  I’ve grown old but have yet to be fully grown up.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
Faith, hope and love will help with the suffering that is a part of every life. Don’t inflict it on myself and, for heaven’s sake, DON’T inflict it on others!

And just for laughs and pondering…

What item in your fridge is calling your name at the moment?
Odwalla Protein Monster!!!

Ninjas or Pirates? Explain.
Easy. Ninjas. Far more skilled and dangerous.

What was the best thing before sliced bread?
Unsliced bread.

If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
Flight. I ‘d like to avoid the commute.

And finally, before we conclude…

If you could write your own epitaph, what would it read?
“With God’s help, he tried.”

If you could pass along any words of wisdom to the world before you go, what would those words be?
Trust in God one moment and one day at a time, and give thanks to him always.


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