Reverend Monsignor James E. Margason - Deceased Pastor

Msgr Jim Margason

The Reverend Monsignor James E. Margason is a deceased priest of the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois. He was born in East St. Louis, Illinois on October 24, 1941 and attended Catholic elementary and secondary schools there. He earned a B.A. from St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Monsignor Margason –“Father Jim” -- attended St. Mary of the Lake Seminary (Mundelein, Illinois), Kenrick Seminary and St. Louis University Divinity School in St. Louis, Missouri, where he earned a Master of Divinity degree in 1971.

Father Jim was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Belleville on June 5, 1971 and was assigned to parish ministry in Belleville, Illinois. In 1974 he was assigned to studies in Canon Law at St. Thomas Aquinas University (the Angelicum), Rome, Italy. He earned a License in Canon Law (J.C.L.) in 1977.

Upon his return to the Diocese, Father Jim was assigned to the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal and appointed Diocesan Family Life Director. In 1983 he was appointed Vicar General of the Diocese of Belleville. In March of that year he was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese. In December 1984 he was again appointed Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia when The Most Reverend James P. Keleher was installed as Bishop of Belleville.

In November of 1990, Father Jim resigned his diocesan offices to serve full time in pastoral ministry and was appointed pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Lebanon, Illinois.

On September 10, 1993 he was elected Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Belleville and served in that position until February 10, 1994, when The Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory was installed as Bishop. Father Jim was then appointed Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia. In August of that year he was also appointed Pastor of St. Luke Parish, Belleville, Illinois, where he remained until July of 2004 when he was appointed Pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Shiloh.

On January 19, 2005, following Bishop Gregory’s installation as Archbishop of Atlanta, Father Jim was again elected Administrator of the Diocese and remained in that capacity until the installation of Bishop Edward K. Braxton on June 22, 2005. Father Jim was reappointed Vicar General, where he served until August 1, 2005. In 2017, Corpus Christi in Shiloh and St Joseph in Lebanon became partner parishes and Father Jim assumed the role of pastor over both churches.

Monsignor Margason previously served as Adjunct Professor of Canon Law at Aquinas Institute on the campus of St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri. He also continues to serve as a judge on the diocesan tribunal and as a trained canonist to serve on national tribunals handling sexual abuse trials.

Some of Father Jim’s hobbies are golf, swimming and cooking. He also enjoys traveling. His special interest is the study of scripture which strongly influences his homilies. Msgr Margason celebrated his 80th birthday and 50th Jubilee in October 2021.

Father Jim died on Tuesday, January 25, 2022 at the rectory, "his home". His Vigil with Reception was held on Friday, January 28, 2022 followed by a a Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, January 29, 2022 at Corpus Christi Church, Shiloh. 

The parish of Corpus Christi Church, Shiloh and St Joseph Church, Lebanon are now under the guidance of a temporary administrator, Fr Ken York who is pastor of St Henry's Catholic Church, Belleville.