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Fr Jack Vessels SJ

In January, we received the sad news that Fr. Jack Vessels passed away. Fr. Jack served as our chaplain for 7 years and was a huge blessing to our community. This is from his obituary:

Fr Jack Vessels SJFather John L. “Jack” Vessels, SJ, died Thursday, January 19, 2017, in Opelousas, La. He was 90 years old, a Jesuit for 72 years and a priest for 59 years.

Jack was born in Enid, Oklahoma in 1926, then moved with his parents to South Texas as a boy. There he became fluent in Spanish as he attended high school at McAllen High and St. Joseph Academy in Kerrville, Texas. After high school graduation, he entered the Society of Jesus in Grand Coteau, La. He was ordained to the priesthood on July 6, 1957 in Rome.

Father Vessels served as the founding principal of Jesuit High School in El Paso, Texas from 1959 to1966. When the New Orleans Province was given a mission in Brazil, he was one of the first to volunteer and served there for almost 20 years (1966-1985). He eventually became director of the Apostleship of Prayer for the Archdiocese of Sao Paulo, and this led to becoming the Apostleship’s international director in Rome.

After returning to the United States in 1995, he was mainly involved with retreat work in Atlanta, Dallas, and Louisiana. From 2009-2016 he was chaplain at the Lord’s Ranch in Vado, N.M., and a member of the community at Sacred Heart Parish in El Paso, before moving to the Jesuit retirement community in Grand Coteau, La., last summer.

Tall in stature, as well as warm and outgoing in his manner, he could and did speak with anyone, and in several different languages. People related to him; students from his days in El Paso stayed in touch with him and remember him still with great affection.

Wherever he was and whatever the assignment, he embarked with a spirit of enthusiasm and adventure. His vision was always an international one. He had a willingness to invest himself fully in whatever mission he was given.

We will miss Fr. Jack but also know that he is praying for us and for all those he ministered to while he was with us. Rest in peace, Padre Jack!

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