Assignment Record – Msgr. John D. Fitzgerald

Summary of Case: John D. Fitzgerald was a priest of the Chicago archdiocese, ordained in 1933. His early career was spent in the Chancery, as a Metropolitan Tribunal official. In 1951 Fitzgerald settled into a pastorship of Ascension parish in Oak Park IL, where he spent the remainder of his career. One source notes his death to have been in 1984, but he is listed in the Official Catholic Directories through 1986. In 2005 a woman reported to the archdiocese that Fitzgerald sexually abused her in 1964, when she was a teenager and Ascension parishioner. The information was kept quiet until the woman spoke to the media in July 2014. The archdiocese acknowledged paying for the woman's therapy.

: 1933
Died: Nov. 4, 1984?


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State/Country Position Notes
1933 1935 Canadian College Rome Italy  
1935 1936 Collegio S. Maria del Lago Rome Italy    


Chicago archbishop was George William Mundelein (1915-1939).

1938 Cathedral of the Holy Name Chicago IL 11/19, 11/19

In residence
The Cathedral had a grade school with 301 students, and a high school with 46 boys and 53 girls.


Mundelein was succeeded by Samuel Alphonsus Stritch (1939-1958).

1951 Metropolitan Tribunal Chicago IL vice-officialis 1937-1943; officialis 1943-1951 Fitzgerald lived at the bishop's residence 1938-1951.


Stritch was replaced by Albert Gregory Meyer (1958-1965), followed by John Patrick Cody (1965-1982). Cody was succeeded by Joseph Louis Bernardin (1982-1996).

1985? Ascension

Oak Park

• In 2014 a woman stated publicly that Fitzgerald sexually abused her in 1964, when she was a teenager and Ascension parishioner. The woman said Fitzgerald sexually attacked her when she went to him for guidance. The woman went to the archdiocese with her report of abuse by Fitzgerald in 2005. She said she didn't come forward until after her mother died. Her mother worked for Fitzgerald. The archdiocese acknowledged paying for the woman's therapy.


1/4, 1/5, 1/3, 2/6, 2/5

pastor 1951-1973; pastor emeritus 1973-1985.

Ascension parish had a school with 1,288-373 students.


Joliet bishop was Joseph Leopold Imesch (1979-2006).

1986? Retired Naperville IL  

Fitzgerald is not indexed beyond the 1986 Directory. His name does not appear in the Necrology section of the Directories. His address is indexed in the 1986 Directory as 200 Martin St., Naperville, IL, which is shown in 2014 to be that of a nursing care and assisted living facility.

Although the 1986 Directory indicates that Fitzgerald retired to Joliet in 1985, his death is noted at to have been Nov. 4, 1984.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1934-1986)

Rev. John David Fitzgerald,
Former Ascension Pastor Accused in Sexual Abuse Incident, by Ken Trainor,, Aug. 11, 2014
Fitzgerald's Accuser Tells Her Story of Pastor's Alleged Abuse, An interview with sex abuse survivor Gail Peloquin Howard, by Ken Trainor, August 15th, 2014

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates FItzgerald's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on Aug. 15, 2014.