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Bishop who brought Augustinians to Korea dies

Bishop William McNaughton MM, RIP

Bishop William McNaughton MM, RIP

The American bishop, William McNaughton, a Maryknoll Missionary, who invited the Augustinians to his diocese of Incheon in South Korea, died peacefully in the United States at the age of 93on 3 February. He had been living in retirement with his sister. He petitioned the 1983 General Chapter for Augustinians to come to his diocese, having been brought up in an Augustinian parish in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He also knew the American Augustinians in Japan, one of whom was a family friend, Fr Maurice Mahoney, who also played a part in bringing the friars to Korea.

On their arrival in 1985, he encouraged the friars from England and Australia to work hard at learning the language and also provided pastoral opportunities in parishes, a hospital and a university in his diocese by way of preparation and inculturation. After three and a half years, he asked them to take charge of the parish of Songhyondong, not too far from the cathedral church of the diocese. He was a supportive presence throughout, even to the point of suggesting the friars establish a school, which was politely turned down.

He was the first bishop of Incheon, consecrated in 1962, at the time still in his thirties, and participated in the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). When he became bishop, the diocese was entirely staffed by Maryknoll missionaries like himself. His legacy was to leave behind many parishes, numerous diocesan clergy and a thriving seminary. He retired in 2002 at the age of 76, returning to live with his sister in the eastern United States. May he rest in peace.

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