Date of death: 4/2/2008
Saint Meinrad Class: O 1974
Father James Swenson, 79, Pastor of St. Bridget Catholic Church, passed away peacefully. He was born July 26, 1928, in Kansas City, and was raised in a Catholic orphanage. Father Swenson served in the U.S. Army during the occupation of Japan. Following his discharge from the service, he moved to San Francisco, where he finished high school and college and became an accountant. At the age of 40, he entered seminary and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Reno-Las Vegas Jan. 4, 1974. He served at parishes in Reno, rural Nevada and in Las Vegas at St. Anne’s and Our Lady before going to St. Bridget’s in July 1984, where he eventually became the parish pastor.Father Swenson loved serving God’s people and chose to forgo retirement to continue in his ministry until prevented to do so by illness. His favorite saying was “I work for the Lord” and his devotion was an inspiration for many. He grew St. Bridget’s into a parish of well over 500 families and was responsible for the first 24-hour Eucharist Adoration in the diocese, which afforded a place for all parishioners of the diocese to pray day or night. Under his guidance, St. Bridget’s parish built a new church, which was dedicated by the Most Reverend Joseph A. Pepe Feb. 3, 2008. Although Father Swenson was too ill to attend the dedication, he did attend Christmas services in the new church. In lieu of flowers, donations are requested for St. Vincent’s Dining Room, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, 1501 Las Vegas Blvd. North, Las Vegas, NV 89101, and/or the Catholic Worker House, 5400 W. Van Buren St., Las Vegas, NV 89106.Published on reviewjournal.com on April 6, 2008.