Most Reverend John Jeremiah McRaith, 1934-2017

Former CRL Director & Bishop of Owensboro, KY Passes Away


Most Rev. John J. McRaith, Bishop of the Diocese of Owensboro from 1982 to 2009, died of natural causes on Sunday, March 19 at the age of 82.

McRaith served as co-director of Catholic Rural Life alongside Monsignor John Weber from 1972 to 1975; he became sole executive director from 1975 to 1978. We remember him for his devoted work to strengthen CRL as an effective organization: more active diocesan directors and increasing membership. He inspired many during those years, vividly showing that food, land and other natural resources are gifts from a loving Creator and must meet the needs of all.

Read more about McRaith’s contributions to CRL on our history page.   You can make a donation to Catholic Rural Life in his honor. (Please leave the note in the comments section.)

McRaith often hosted dinners in rural areas, where one special attraction was always present. As current Bishop of Owensboro, William F. Medley, describes it: “He hooked up the wagon to his John Deere tractor and took whoever was there on hayrides through those country roads in the county.”

Fittingly, a tractor-pulled wagon processed with the body of Bishop John McRaith to St. Stephen Cathedral on Thursday, Mar. 23. After an all-night vigil, the Funeral Mass took place at 11 am, followed by burial at Mount Saint Joseph in Maple Mount, Kentucky.  Expressions of sympathy may also be made in the form of donations to the Diocese of Owensboro.

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