Father Peter Hughes

father peter hughes

Father Peter Hughes, 81, passed away in Dublin, Ireland at Kimmage Manor on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, which was the 53rd anniversary of his ordination into the priesthood.

Fr. Peter Hughes was born in Glasnevin, Dublin on February 19, 1933, to Mary Rose (née Mockler) and Peter Paul Hughes.  Following secondary studies in Rockwell College, Co. Tipperary, he entered the Spiritan novitiate in Kilshane where he was professed in 1954 before moving on to the Missionary College in Kimmage Manor. Having already prefected for two years in St. Mary’s College, Rathmines, he completed his Theology studies in Kimmage and was ordained to the priesthood in Dublin in July 1961.

Fr. Hughes’ first appointment was to Nigeria where he served in a pastoral role from 1962 until 1967 in what became the Diocese of Enugu. He began in St. John the Baptist parish in Agbani, later serving in the parish of St. Philip & St. James in Aku and then as pastor in its former outstation Nimbo which was being raised to the status of a parish.

Going to the US in 1968, he served briefly in a pastoral role in Texas before moving to New York later the same year where he did fundraising for two years. In 1971 he began a period of more than a decade in the Diocese of Monze in Zambia serving in Kalomo and with the Irish Sisters of Charity, in Choma.

After renewal studies in Marianella in Dublin, Fr. Hughes returned to the US in 1983, to the Diocese of Fargo, North Dakota. There he served rector at St. James Basilica, Jamestown; pastor of St. John the Evangelist's Church in New Rockford;  pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul's Catholic Church, McHenry;  pastor of St. William's Catholic Church, Argusville; rector of the Cathedral of St. Mary, Fargo; Confessor and in-residence at Cardinal Muench Seminary, Fargo;  Hospital Chaplain, Fargo and, from 2011 to 2012, in-residence at Holy Spirit Catholic Church and St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, Fargo. 

He remained in North Dakota until 2012 when he transferred to Kimmage Manor.

Fr. Hughes’ Mass of Christian burial in Ireland was on Saturday, July 19th.  A memorial Mass will be celebrated at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fargo, on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at 7:00pm.  Bishop John Folda will preside at this Mass, and a reception will follow at the Cathedral.

Condolence letters to his community and family in Ireland may be addressed to Fr. Marc Whelan C.S.Sp., Provincial, The Spiritan Provincialate, Temple Park, Dublin 6, Ireland or provincial@spiritan.ie.

Memorials for the Our Lady of Guadalupe Adoration chapel or mass offerings may be directed to the Cathedral in Fargo.  Fr. Hughes’ community would gratefully accept memorials for Marian House, the nursing home at Kimmage Manor where Fr. Hughes spent his final months.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Fargo ND
    I first met Father Hughes after Easter. Not a regular church goer one day I decided to go the Easter mass except when I got there everyone was leaving and I had forgotten about the time change from daylight saving time. The whole church was full and I went home feeling dumb. One day in May I went to Mass and brought my Bible and read it for a while before services started. It was a beautiful early summer day and the sun was shining. Father Hughes’ message was about the man in the back of the church. I was closer to the front because as a student I was always told if there aren’t a lot of people in the room sit in the front rows. The man in the back of the church perhaps thought differently. He maybe leaves early so stays near the back but maybe he has to get somewhere. But the man in the back of the church, is he listening? Anyway I was listening. But there’s really no excuse for sitting in the back of the church then I guess. Father Hughes was a great guy to know, he helped me understand and most of all helped me pray so for this I thank God for him and other friends. I went home feeling content that I can go to church if I want to but it’s usually when I need help. Father Mueller said when I told him I should go to church more often as I need it and he said remember, we need you! After that it was no problem. The day after I met Father Hughes over 40 people were killed by a tornado in Oklahoma. I couldn’t help but think- you never know when your last day on earth will be. I had just gone to Mass, I hardly ever go to Mass but my Easter time-lapse experience made me feel weird and I felt like I owed Her one. So I went to Mass and excuse me but it was a way better experience with not so many people in there. God Bless ya Father Hughes

  2. Moorhead MN
    You will surely be missed Father. I have many memories of great times with you. You have done the Weddings, Baptisms, and all family ceremonies for many years. I appreciate the Love and care you gave to my sick grandmother and am so very proud to say I had the opportunity to know you and to share your love in your Faith with my Family, myself growing up, and now with my own Children as an adult. I am a better person because of the way you spread Gods love through my Family and through your words. Please rest in peace and know how much you were loved. Sincerely, Ashley Hodge & Family.

  3. Father Hughes was a very beloved Priest by all and so wonderful of his Masses to the Veterans at the VA Hospital in Fargo.
    RIP Father Peter Hughes.

  4. Harlingen TexasWe have never forgotten Father Hughes. Our sympathy goes to his family.
    At this time, words can’t tell all that our hearts would say.

  5. Father Hughes was one of a kind! We could not have asked for a better Celebrant for my dads funeral. Ten years later, even though I miss my dad dearly, I remember Father Hughes wonderful kind and personal words he spoke of my dad. He made a horrible day into a celebration and I will always be grateful to him for that. I am sure he and dad are visiting now in heaven.

  6. Fargo ND
    Father Hughes will always be very special to our family. Mentoring our children, teaching them through the years at St Mary’s,
    being a best friend to my mother during her journey to heaven, serving at her service, encouraging Lee and Sam to speak about their grandmother , Lee a server at the funeral, PJ having an unexpected 1st communion at the funeral. Helpiing sisters understand a sisters journey to heaven. Helping Craig to his journey to heaven while he was also going through his own journey. Father Hughes you are an inspiration and a saint.

  7. Brighton COWhat a wonderful life of devotion Father Hughes had lived and pledged to his Father through his faith. Father Hughes was such an inspiration to be around, his positive thoughts and loving personality engaged your own thoughts with his love of life and his commitment to serve through his heart and love of Christ. Forever rest in peace Father Hughes, or go on serving as you always have, only now you have the angel wings that you already so totally deserve.
    God’s Blessings to those that he touched in his life and are left behind with the joy and support of our Heavenly Father.
    Bless you Father Hughes forever more…

  8. Dilworth Minnesota
    Father Pete was the hospital chaplin during the time my brother and my brother in law were hospitalized. My brother was a stubborn irishman and Father Pete could banter with him like no one else I know. He was a kind, humorous man. He certainly did God’s bidding well. He will be missed. My brother has since passed and I imagine they have started the bantering again in Heaven. God Bless them both.

  9. Father Hughes was one of God’s best! Humor, warmth, caring, and listening were all just part of his everyday conversations. I for one can’t wait to reunite with him in heaven! Blessings, peace and prayer to the family of this amazing man.

  10. Hawley Minnesota
    /USAYou touched the lives of so many people with your spiritual guidance. Your warm lovable Irish personality was a joy to us all, we will dearly miss you. You brought me (Beverly) into the church as a convert in the Jubilee year (2000) which filled my life with joy.

  11. Fargo ND
    We were blessed to volunteer for Father Hughes at the Fargo Veterans Affairs Chapel at Sunday Masses for the veterans. It was a pleasure to serve for him. We always took something away from his homilies to reflect on to strengthen our faith. We also enjoyed his jokes and humor. God has welcomed home a great person. He will be deeply missed here on earth. Thank God for allowing him to serve us!

  12. Fargo North Dakota
    Robert knew Father Hughes through the Veterans Hospital here in Fargo. And I met him a couple of times also. He was such a great “GODLY” Priest and we will never for get him in telling us that The Holy Land was Ireland. 🙂
    RIP Father Hughes.

  13. You will be greatly missed.. I was an altar boy under for a few years. thank you for being such a good kind person on earth and doing gods work on earth.

  14. When I was a homeless teen Father Hughs showed me kindness I didn’t deserve. I was at the end of my rope, kicked out of my home, living in a car, and I couldn’t find help anywhere. Since my family was very anti catholic I had the sense I was doing something wrong. I went there looking for help and the lady that was the receptionist there said she couldn’t help me. I sat down and cried in the hallway. Father Hughs got me up from the floor, dusted me off, and brought me into the office. He commanded respect with every fiber of his being. Something I was usually apt to refute, but I had a sense he deserved it. And he said as long as I could come and clean his hall, he would write vouchers for me for clothes, food, and gas. When I was 34 I finally decided to be catholic against everything in my family. If it weren’t for the help of him and the Sisters Mary of the Presentation showing me undeserving kindness, I’d still be agnostic at best. Thank you Father Hughs!

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