Brother James McVeigh, O.S.F., formerly known as Brother Martin de Porres was born in Brooklyn on October 10, 1946. After attending Immaculate Heart of Mary School and the Brothers’ Juniorate in Smithtown. He entered St. Francis Novitiate in Brookville and received the habit on August 2, 1964.
He received a Sociology degree from St. Francis College and began his teaching career at St. Mary Star of the Sea School in Brooklyn. Brother James began his graduate studies at American University and St. Mary’s University in 1969, earning a Master of Arts degree in Religious Education. Brother also taught at Bishop Ford H.S., Brooklyn, and St. Anthony’s H.S., then in Smithtown, where he became Director of Religious Activities and then Chairperson of the Religion Department. He reactivated the Tau Fraternity (Third Order of St. Francis).
In 1979, he became Christian Service Coordinator at St. Francis Prep in Fresh Meadows, Queens, followed by ten years as principal of Our Lady of Hope School in Middle Village, Queens. Brother was then appointed as Regional School Supervisor for Queens North comprised of 45 schools. He was then named Assistant Principal, Dean of Faculty and Director of Studies at St. Anthony’s H.S. in South Huntington and began the catechetics program and Kolbe Society.
In 1995, Brother James became Assistant Superintendent for Essex County in the Archdiocese of Newark. During this time, he also served as Director of Temporary Professed. The Franciscan Brothers then appointed Brother James as Vocation Director for the community for seven years. When the term was finished, he was asked to help out in Secaucus, NJ, for a school that had lost their principal. Brother James then returned to St. Francis Prep to assist in the Admissions Office and designed a program for the Franciscan Mission Coordinator, and moderator of the Franciscan Youth Movement which he continued to do for many years.
In addition, in 2007, Brother James was appointed Co-Vicar for Religious in the Diocese of Rockville Centre while continuing his ministry with the Franciscan Mission at St. Francis Prep. In 2008, Bishop Murphy appointed Brother as Director of New Evangelization and a member of his Cabinet. Brother James served on the Executive Board of the National Religious Vocation Conference for five years while Vocation Director and Co-Chair of Region 2. He was on the Executive Board of the Continental Congress for North America on Vocations called by Pope John Paul and held in Montreal. He then served two terms as Vice President of the National Conference of Vicars for Religious. Brother’s final ministry was as Franciscan Mission Coordinator for both St. Francis Prep and St. Anthony’s.
Brother James’ first love was anything Franciscan followed by a love of Catholic education with a special dedication to Youth, Campus and Young Adult Ministry. In his various ministries, he enjoyed mentoring youth and educators and working with Religious in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
Brother James died peacefully in Hospice on February 19, 2021. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on February 23 at St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Melville. Internment followed in the Brothers’ plot at Holy Rood Cemetery, Westbury.