Assignment Record – Rev. Bernard Francis "Barney" McMeel, s.j.

Summary of Case: Bernard "Barney" McMeel was ordained a priest of the Jesuits' Oregon Province in 1954. For more than two decades he ministered in the Fairbanks, Alaska diocese with a short stint later on in the diocese of Juneau. From 1979 until his death in 1994, McMeel worked at St. Paul Indian Mission on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in the diocese of Great Falls, Montana. McMeel was accused in a 2006 lawsuit, along with Rev. Andrew Eordogh, s.j., of having sexually abused a boy in Holy Cross, Alaska, beginning when the boy was 4 years-old in 1967. Hs accuser said McMeel "handed him off" to Eordogh when McMeel left in 1968 to become Superior Regular of Jesuits in Alaska.

Ordained: 1954
Died: Jan. 6, 1994


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State/Country Position Notes


San Francisco bishop was John Joseph Mitty (1935-1961).

1955 Alma College Los Gatos CA theology student  


Vicariate Apostolic of Alaska
/Fairbanks bishop was Francis Doyle Gleeson, s.j. (1948-1968).

1957 Immaculate Conception Church/Monroe High School Fairbanks AK principal Monroe High had 12-36 students.
      Nenana, North Pole, Highway Park, Suntrana, College AK   Theses were stations of Immaculate Conception in Fairbanks.


Seattle archbishop was Thomas Arthur Connolly (1950-1975).

1958 Manresa Hall Port Townsend AK tertianship  


Vicariate Apostolic of Alaska.

1959 St. Patrick's Barrow AK 2/2  
      Barter Island, Umiat, DEW Line AK   These were stations of St. Patrick's in Barrow.


Fairbanks was elevated to a diocese Aug. 8, 1962.

1965 Sacred Heart Chevak AK 1/1  
      Newktok AK   This was a station of Sacred Heart in Chevak.
April 1964 Feb. 1968 Holy Cross

Holy Cross

• McMeel was accused in a 2006 lawsuit, along with Jesuit Fr. Andrew Eordogh, of sexually abusing a Holy Cross boy when he was 4 to 7 years-old, beginning in 1967. His accuser said McMeel was the first to abuse him, then "handed him off" to Eordogh after he left Holy Cross to become the Jesuits' Superior Regular for Alaska.

AK 1/1 Superior

Holy Cross had a school with 70-67 students.

Eordogh was a Jesuit from Hungary who worked in Alaska from the late 1960s through the early 1970s.

1965 1968   Bettles, Manley Hot Springs, Rampart, Ruby, Tanana, Anvik, Flat, Grayling, Holikachuck, Pimute, Shagluk, Marshall, Russian Mission AK   These were stations of Holy Cross in Holy Cross.


Robert Louis Whelan, s.j. (1968-1985) succeeded Gleeson as Fairbanks

1970 Council of Vigilance Fairbanks AK    
1968 1973 Immaculate Conception Fairbanks AK 3/3, 3/4  
1968 1970   College AK   This was a station of Immaculate Conception in Fairbanks.
1968 1973 Superior Regular Fairbanks AK    
1970 1971 Diocesan Building Commission Fairbanks AK    
1969 1973 Pontifical Society for Propogation of the Faith Fairbanks AK    
Sept. 1973 July 1976 St. John Berchman Galena AK 1/1  
1973 1976   Ruby; Manley Hot Springs, Huslia AK   These were missions of St. John Berchman in Galena.
Aug. 1976 Nov.1977 Little Flower of Jesus Hooper Bay AK 1/1  
Aug .1976 Nov. 1977   Scammon Bay AK   This was a mission of Little Flower of Jesus in Hooper Bay.
1976 1977   Cape Romanzof AK   This was a station of Little Flower of Jesus in Hooper Bay.
1977 1978 St. Joseph's Tununak AK 1/1  
1977 1978   Toksook Bay, Nightmute AK   These were missions of St. Joseph's in Tununak.
1977 1978   Umkumute AK   This was a station of St. Joseph's in Tununak.

Fall 1978

Great Falls bishop was Thomas Joseph Murphy (1978-1987).

  St. Paul's Indian Mission Church Hays MT   Per Renner's Alaskana Catholica, McMeel was on sabbatical during 1978-1979.

Spring 1979

Ft. Wayne-South Bend bishop was William Edward McManus (1976-1985).

  Institute for Clergy Education, Notre Dame University South Bend IN   Per Renner's Alaskana Catholica.


Juneau bishop was Michael Hughes Kenny (1979-1995).

  St. Rose of Lima Wrangell AK   Per Renner's Alaskana Catholica, McMeel was administrator of this parish for six months in 1979.


Anthony Michael Milone replaced Murphy as bishop (1987-2006). Great Falls diocese's name was changed to Great Falls-Billings in February 1980.

1990 St. Paul's Indian Mission Church Fort Belknap Indian Reservation/Hays MT 2/2, 1/1, 1/2

St. Paul's Indian Mission had a school with 114-54 students.

A 2006 lawsuit claimed that McMeel was sent to Montana after they learned he had molested a child in Alaska.

1978 1990 St. Thomas Lodge Pole MT    
1978 1990 St. Joseph's Zortman MT    
1988 1990 Sacred Heart Ft. Belknap Agency MT    
1990 1991         McMeel is not indexed in the 1991 Directory.
1991 1994 St. Paul's Indian Mission Church Fort Belknap Indian Reservation/Hays MT 1/1 St. Paul's Indian Mission had a school with 102-127 students, and a religious education program with 106-80 students.
1991 1994 St. Thomas Lodge Pole MT    
1991 1994 St. Joseph's Zortman MT    
1991 1994 Sacred Heart Ft. Belknap Agency MT   McMeel died Jan. 6, 1994.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1955-1995)

Our Lady of the Snows Parish, Hooper Bay, Alaska: 1928-2003, Editors Note: This Article Is Indebted to a Considerable Extent to Writings by Father Louis L. Renner, S.J., Alaskan Shepherd, June-July 2003
Excerpt from Bankruptcy Reorganization Documents for Fairbanks Diocese Jan. 25, 2010, p. 2
2 More Priests Face Sex Abuse Suits, By Mary Beth Smetzer, Fairbanks News-Miner [Alaska], February 9, 2006
Diocese Researching Accusations about Former Hays Priest, By Larry Kline, Havre Daily News [Montana], February 10, 2006
Lawsuit Alleges Sexual Abuse by Former Hays Priest, By Larry Kline, Havre Daily News, February 10, 2006
Friends, Family, Defend Late Priest Accused of Abuse, KBZK [Montana], February 21, 2006
Friends, Family Say Accusations against Priest Hard to Believe, The Associated Press, carried in Independent Record [Montana], February 22, 2006
Jesuit Abuse Settlement Aims to Heal, $50 Million: Religious Order's Head Says Church Failed Victims in Alaska, By Lisa Demer
Anchorage Daily News, November 20, 2007
Deadline Looms in Jesuit Sex Abuse Lawsuit, By Travis Coleman, Great Falls Tribune, October 9, 2009
Alaskana Catholica: A History of the Catholic Church in Alaska, By Louis L. Renner, s.j.

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 McMeel'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 May 11, 2014.