Father Louis Campbell

1 November 1932 - 18 December 2023

Requiescat in pace! 

Remembering Father Louis Campbell

Father Louis Campbell was born James Albert Campbell at St. Catherine’s Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, on 1 November 1932, to Peter J. MacKenzie Campbell and Viola Davidson Campbell.  Young James was baptized at Holy Name Catholic Church.  His future parents met while both were residing in the Boston area as Canadian expatriates.  Peter J. MacKenzie Campbell was working for a French shipping company and Viola Davidson was engaged as a domestic employee. Both were living in a Nova Scotian enclave and were introduced by mutual acquaintances. They married and would soon move to New York.

When James was 18 months old, his parents decided to return to Nova Scotia fearing that the coming Great Depression would be difficult to survive in the large cities of the USA.  With other members of the Campbell Clan, James’s family would relocate to a portion of his grandfather’s farmland on the shores of Bras d’Or Lake where they would all become self-sufficient.  (Bras d’Or Lake is now recognized as a World Heritage Site because of its pristine ecological significance).

Little James’s father, Peter MacKenzie Campbell, was a skilled fisherman, and with his trawling net that he pulled from a rowboat, he would catch cod, herring, mackerel, and salmon.  Lobster and clams were also abundant.  To prepare for winter the cod catch would be salted and dried on wood planks to be consumed when the lake was frozen over.  The family also cultivated carrots, corn, and potatoes.

The first home that Peter and Viola occupied was a converted chicken coop which was expanded with extra rooms with the help of one of James’s uncles. Their water source was a natural spring close to the house.  Heat and cooking were provided by burning wood, as the area was not yet electrified.  Beef, chicken, and other produce were bartered and exchanged with other family members on the farmland.

While James was still in grade school, his family moved to Sydney, Nova Scotia. There, he would be surrounded by many other extended family members.  He had 55 cousins on his father’s side and 30 cousins on his mother’s side.  He would be the eldest of three boys in his immediate family, to be followed by brothers Robert and Gerard.

James Campbell attended Saint Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry in 1956.  Prior to the completion of his studies, he was offered and accepted a position in the chemistry department as a research assistant.  But shortly before graduation, he would have a chance encounter with a priest – a second cousin of his father – who simply mentioned to him that he should consider a vocation to the priesthood.  Apparently, this suggestion greatly impacted James, and within a short period of time, he was accepted into the Augustinian Seminary.

James Campbell was ordained 3 September 1961, by Reverend William E. Power, Bishop of Antigonish, at St. Augustine’s Monastery Chapel, in Nova Scotia, and would thereafter be known by his religious name, Father Louis, when he became an Augustinian Priest.  He would offer his first Mass on 10 September 1961, at Sacred Heart Church, also in Nova Scotia.

During his 36 years with the Augustinian Order, Father Louis Campbell was given many assignments at both monasteries and parishes that were operated by the order.  He was a prior at the Augustinian Monastery in British Columbia, and Marylake Monastery in Ontario, while also a choir director at those institutions, which would later result in his taking up music composition.  Between his monastic appointments, Father Campbell intermittently served at various parishes in Canada and the United States.  His final years as an Augustinian pastor were spent at Sacred Heart Parish at King City, Ontario, during the first half of the 1990’s.  In 1995, Father Campbell was re-assigned by his order to assume the duties of a hospital chaplain in British Columbia.

However, by 1996, Father Campbell wanted to resume offering the Traditional Latin Mass of his ordination, and formally separated from the Augustinian order to establish an affiliation with the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter.  This resulted in his appointment as pastor of Saint Michael the Archangel Parish in Scranton, Pennsylvania, from 1997 to 1999, and Saint Clement’s Parish in Ottawa, Ontario, from 1999 to 2001.

But in the year 2000, Father Campbell discovered the multi-volume study by German Theologian, Father Johannes Dörmann, titled, John Paul II's Theological Journey to the Prayer Meeting of Religions in Assisi, and the revelations in those works changed Father’s direction for the rest of his life.  From Father Dörmann, Father Campbell realized that the near disappearance of the ancient Roman liturgy from parish churches during the 1970s and ‘80s was not the cause of the ecclesiastical crisis that was readily apparent to anyone born before 1950, but was merely a symptom of a far more profound problem that was partially uncovered and identified by Father Dörmann.

Providentially, in January 2001, Father Campbell received a visitor to Saint Clement’s, the prominent Canadian portrait artist and staunch traditional Catholic, Mr. Cyril Leeper, who informed Father Louis that an investigation into the ecclesiastical crisis identified by Father Dörmann had been taken to a much deeper level by the lay sponsors of Saint Jude Shrine, in Stafford, Texas, near Houston.  Saint Jude’s was the first Catholic Church in Texas to be rescued by the laity for the exclusive offering of the Traditional Latin Mass since the suppression of the ancient Roman liturgy in 1971, and Father Campbell decided to visit the community of Texas Catholics in June 2001.  

Necessitating his departure from Saint Clement’s and the Fraternity of Saint Peter, Father Campbell’s “visit” to Saint Jude’s would last over twenty-two years.  During the middle thirteen years of that time, Father Louis was piously assisted by another veteran Catholic clergyman, Father Thomas Dignan of Williston, North Dakota, whose simultaneous awakening to the ecclesiastical crisis had paralleled that of Father Louis, thereby creating a powerful consolidation of spiritual forces for the remnant Church in Texas.  During that time, Father Campbell would never forsake his family or Canadian ancestry, and for 18 years, he devoted a few weeks every summer to visit his brothers and their families in Nova Scotia.

Father Louis Campbell leaves behind a legacy of written sermons, totaling over 1100 that explain with precision the true nature of the crisis faced by Catholics today.   The vast number of those lectures, all of which were delivered in public from the pulpit at Saint Jude Shrine, far exceeds the recorded dissertations of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux of the 12th Century, whose commentaries dealt with the Church crisis of his time that was not unlike what is faced by Catholics today.   In addition, hundreds of video recordings of Father Campbell’s Masses and sermons remain in Saint Jude’s permanent archives, many of which are presently accessible online now so that Father Campbell’s visible presence and spoken words will remain with us now, and with generations of Catholics to come.  

The hymns composed by Father Campbell are regularly sung during the Mass by Saint Jude’s choir.  They make up only a small part of the voluminous musical works, recordings, and poetry that Father left to us.  

But besides Father Campbell’s gift to the world as a minister of the Holy Eucharist and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he was a tireless servant of the faithful, in ways too numerous to catalog in this brief obituary, and was constantly at the beck and call of souls in need, both in Texas and far beyond. Catholics from the other side of the world who regularly watched Father’s Masses on Saint Jude’s live-stream and listened to his sermons week after week, often came on pilgrimage to Texas to meet him in person and to partake of the great blessing of attending his Mass and receiving the Blessed Sacrament from his consecrated hands.

Last Christmas, Father Campbell began a year-long physical decline which, half-way through, resulted in a diagnosis of leukemia this past June.  Every conceivable non-toxic treatment was administered to him by his doctors.  In his final days, constant assistance was provided to him round the clock by his close friends.  Most importantly, the Last Rites of the Church were administered to him multiple times by true priests.  But on 18 December 2023, Almighty God brought Father Campbell’s life in this world to an end, and to all appearances, to a very successful conclusion.  Father Louis is survived by his brother, Gerard, and Gerard’s wife, Lorraine, and Father’s sister-in-law, Fran, widow of Father’s deceased brother, Robert, plus many nieces and nephews.

It would be hard for those who knew Father Campbell to imagine that, upon his meeting Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, he would not be directly admitted into the Kingdom of Heaven. Nevertheless, we commend the soul of Father Louis Campbell to Almighty God, while asking everyone to pray that he is welcomed without delay into Eternal Paradise with the divine greeting: “Well done, My good and faithful servant!”

Funeral Arrangements for Father Campbell

There will be a wake, visitation, and Rosary for Father Louis Campbell from 6 to 8 PM on Friday 22 December 2023, at Saint Jude Shrine, 3101 North Main Street, Stafford, Texas 77477. There will be a second visitation at 9 AM on Saturday, 23 December 2023, also at the church, with the funeral Mass beginning at 10 AM and burial (at approximately 11:30 AM) at West Gethsemane Garden, 3000 1st Street (Hwy 36), Rosenberg, Texas 77471. The funeral Mass will be livestreamed to our YouTube channel. Because of the limitations of the elderly priest who will be officiating this weekend, there will be no individual confessions on Friday night, but general absolution will be administered before or during the Funeral Mass on Saturday morning.


The cemetery was consecrated by Bishop Christopher Byrne, who also consecrated Saint Jude’s (originally Holy Family Catholic Mission) on 4 April 1949.

Father Campbell will be laid to rest close to the grave-sites of Father Emmet Buckley and Father Jose DePineda, both former chaplains at Saint Jude’s.  The cemetery advises that those who are unable to find a parking spot in front of the cemetery, will have permission from the RaceWay filling station, to park on their property, which is one block south of the cemetery, on 1st Street.

There will be a reception at Saint Jude’s hall after the graveside services at which time, “Lenten-style” refreshments will be served (since Saturday is a day of fasting and total abstinence). Those who would like to bring a non-meat dish for that occasion are encouraged to do so.

Confessions will be heard from 2 PM to 5 PM in the church on Saturday, in anticipation of the Christmas Holy Days that are nearly upon us. 

Father Campbell in Randolph, Maine - 1933.

Father Campbell at approximately two years of age.

With Cousin, Mary MacNeil.

Father Campbell on his First Communion Day (far left) in 1939.

Family photo left to right; top row - Uncles, Harry & Colin Campbell, Brothers, Robert & Gerard with wives, Fran & Lorraine & Father Campbell - bottom row - Aunts, Yvonne & Margaret, with Parents, Peter & Viola.

With Aunt Ester Davidson in 1933 or '34.

Newspaper Photo from 1957 taken while a student at St. Francis Xavier University.

On his graduation from St. Francis Xavier University.

Vesting for a Mass as a young Parish priest in Racine, Wisconsin in the 1960s.

Father Campbell's Ordination 3 September 1961 - Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

At Saint Clement's in Ottawa - May 2001.

At St. Clement's Rectory in Ottawa - May 2001.

At the Alamo in San Antonio - September 2001.

Back Home in Stafford from the Hospital - 25 July 2023.

Father Campbell as we remember him.

Studio Portrait while at Sacred Heart Parish - 1990s.

With Father Sommerville at Mission Concepcion in San Antonio - September 2001.

Sacred Heart Going Away Party - 1995.

With Father Dignan Administering the Last Rites.

The Last Pentecost (2017) with both Father Campbell and Father Dignan.

With Father Stephen Sommerville on San Antonio's Riverwalk - September 2001.

With Father Sommerville at the Alamo, San Antonio - September 2001.

With Father Thomas Dignan at Christmas.

With Father Thomas Dignan on his 60th Priestly Anniversary.

With Father Sommerville at Mission San Juan Capistrano in San Antonio - September 2001.

With Italian Bishop Giacomo Barabino, former Secretary of Cardinal Siri.

Close-Up Image of Father Campbell.