In Memoriam: Fr Joseph L Roche SJ
01 Dec 2022 | Department of Theology
The Ateneo Department of Theology is saddened by the passing of our dear colleague and friend, Prof. em. Fr. Joseph L. Roche, S.J., on 28 November 2022.
Fr. Roche was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1928 and joined the Society of Jesus in 1945. After his regency at Ateneo de Cagayan in 1949, he pursued further studies abroad and returned to the Philippines to assume teaching posts at the Ateneo de Manila University’s Philosophy and Theology Departments, the Loyola School of Theology, and the Mother of Life Catechetical Institute.
Fr. Roche has taught generations of Ateneo undergraduate and graduate students. He was brilliant and incisive. He generously founded FIRE in 1979 in order to offer opportunities for graduate education that would help religion teachers and catechists be of better service to their students, the church, and Philippine society. To all his students and alumni, he is most of all, a brilliant and incisive teacher who believed in the importance of a relevant theological and religious education. He challenged students to be their best and was a beloved mentor to many teachers today whom he motivated to think, write, and teach rigorously and passionately. His contributions to the creation of the Catechism for Filipino Catholics (1997), the National Catechetical Directory for the Philippines of 1985 and 2007 are likewise a testament to his service to the Philippine Church in the field of catechesis. Pope Benedict XVI bestowed on him the “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” award in 2006 in recognition of his distinguished service to the church.
Our department would like to thank Fr. Roche for all the support and love he has given. His efforts have helped many people grow in communion and in intimacy with Jesus Christ (CT 5). We will continue the work of educating our undergraduate students and training teachers in doing “integrated, inculturated, and community forming” catechesis and religious education, while we hope for the final fruition of all things in Christ. We believe that we will meet again.
A wake mass will be held at the Oratory of St. Ignatius, Loyola House of Studies, at 8 pm on 1 December. The funeral Mass will be held at 8 am on Friday, 2 December. Interment follows at the Province Cemetery of the Sacred Heart Novitiate.
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