PA Labor Movement Mourns Loss of Chaplain Father Jack O’Malley

“We know that when people don’t have enough to eat and don’t have safety at the workplace — whether they’re a mine worker, a steelworker, a farmworker, or a fast-food worker, it becomes a moral issue, and the church should be involved.” - Father Jack O’Malley


Members of the Labor Movement from across the state are mourning the passing earlier today of Father Jack O’Malley. One of seven, Father Jack O’Malley was the son of Patrick J. and Mildred U. O’Malley and learned early from his family about being involved in his community and serving as guided by his faith.



Father Jack O'Malley being taken into custody during a United Farm Workers (UFW) demonstration in support of the Grape Boycott, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1970.

He helped support the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh where people of diverse faiths and methods of thought could come together to discuss how to work together and build a more just and equitable world. His support of equitable treatment for women was national news in the late 1980s when he was inviting women to participate in Maundy Thursday. Previously only men had been permitted to participate in the ceremonial washing of feet on the Thursday before Easter.

He regularly challenged big business in the name of workers’ rights and some of his organizing efforts even ended being detained by the police. Father O’Malley was not necessarily an advocate of breaking the law but, he was known to say “sometimes you have to bend the law to be heard.” That way of conducting fellowship, standing side by side with his sisters and brothers, was how he acted on his own beliefs. Those acts of solidarity in faith also led to his numerous arrests standing up for social and economic justice. 


In October of last year, Father O’Malley was presented with a Key to the City of Pittsburgh by Mayor William Peduto. In 2014, Father O’Malley was named the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Citizen of the Year, and that same year was honored by the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network for his work bringing people of all faiths together.


Father O’Malley served as the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Labor Council Chaplain.

Friends and family will be received at

McCabe Bros., Inc. Funeral Home, 6214 Walnut Street, Shadyside

on Tuesday, 5-8 pm and Wednesday 3-8 pm.

Masks, social distancing and a limit of 25 persons in the funeral home at one time will be required due to current Allegheny County rules in effect.

Translation to St. Raphael Church on Thursday at 10 am with Mass of Christian Burial at 11 am.

In lieu of flowers, it would be Jack’s wish to please VOTE!

Condolences may be left at