John was a member of the Society of Mary (Marianists). He received an A.B. in Philosophy and Mathematics along with a B.S. in Education at the University of Dayton. An M.A. in Liturgical Studies from the University of Notre Dame was followed by a Ph.D. from St. Louis University in Historical Theology.
John was past president of the Catholic Association of Teachers of Homiletics (CATH) and a charter member of the international homiletics society Societas Homiletica. With William Storey, he served as co-editor of Praise God in Song: Ecumenical Daily Prayer and also PGIS: Night Prayer. He lectured widely in the U.S., Canada, England, and Australia.
He served on the faculty of the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, where he served as director of the then Center for Pastoral Liturgy from 1979-1984. Later, he founded the Marten Program in Homiletics and Liturgics. He retired in 2008.
Funeral services are planned for this coming week at the Chapel of the Marianist Community in Mineola, NY.