Monsignor Peter G. Armstrong, priest for 55 years
December 2nd, 2009
A funeral Mass was celebrated Nov. 24 for Monsignor Peter Armstrong at St. Pius Church in Redwood City, where he served as pastor from 1979 until his retirement in 2001. Monsignor Armstrong died Nov. 17 from an apparent heart attack at Alma Via residence in San Rafael where he had resided in recent years. He had been a priest for 55 years and was 80 years old. He was named a Monsignor in 1966, and was a longtime chaplain to the San Francisco 49ers football team.
The late priest was born in San Francisco’s Cow Hollow and attended St. Brigid Elementary School and St. Ignatius High School. Following studies at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, he was ordained at St. Mary’s Cathedral (formerly at O’Farrell and Van Ness) on June 11, 1954 by Archbishop John J. Mitty. His initial assignment as a new priest was as assistant pastor at St. Pius Parish in Redwood City.
In 1959, Father Armstrong undertook post-graduate studies at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., earning a Master’s degree in social work. Between semesters, he resided at St. Thomas More Parish in San Francisco.
In 1961, Father Armstrong was appointed assistant director of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), becoming director in 1965. In 1969, Monsignor Armstrong was named Director of Youth Activities of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and two years later, was named President of the San Francisco Comprehensive Health Planning Council, responsible for overseeing a staff that coordinated health delivery services and facilities in the city and county of San Francisco.
In 1975, Monsignor Armstrong was appointed Director of St. Vincent’s School for Boys in San Rafael.
He also served as Chairman of the Juvenile Justice Commission of the Youth Guidance Center and as a director of Friends of Recreation and Parks. In 1976, Mayor George Moscone appointed Monsignor Armstrong to the San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission, where he served four years. During this time, he met Eddie DeBartolo, Jr., of the San Francisco 49ers, and shortly thereafter, he was named Chaplain to the 49ers.
In 1979, after nearly twenty years as Director of CYO, Monsignor Armstrong accepted assignment as pastor at St. Pius Parish in Redwood City. In 1982, Archbishop John Quinn named him chairman of the Social Justice Commission of the Archdiocese, and in 1993 to chair the Archdiocesan Pastoral Planning Commission. Monsignor Armstrong retired from St. Pius Parish on July 1, 2001, and took up independent residence in Kenwood before his move to the facility in San Rafael where spent his final years.
Remembrances may be made to the Priest Retirement Fund of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, One Peter Yorke Way, San Francisco 94109.
From December 4, 2009 issue of Catholic San Francisco.