Thursday, October 14, 2004

Rest in peace, Father Felten.

Today I attended the funeral of Father John Felten, a Chicago Province Jesuit who died at Colombiere this past weekend at the age of eighty-six. I never met Father Felten, but Jesuits who knew both him and myself tell me we probably would've gotten along very well. At last night's wake a number of people shared touching personal reminiscences about the impact that Father Felten had on their lives, with recollections from his Jesuit classmates and former students as well as from people who had gotten to know him in the last years of his life. Particularly moving for me was hearing from a younger Jesuit who had studied under Father Felten at Xavier University and credited the longtime classics professor as a key influence on his own decision to enter the Society. The funeral today was a dignified but appropriately quiet affair; about a hundred people - mostly Jesuits, but some family as well - attended the funeral Mass in the chapel at Colombiere, with a smaller group making the short walk to the Jesuit cemetery on the grounds for the interment. One image of the day that will probably stay with me for a while was seeing the deceased laid out in his coffin with a Campion Hall scarf draped around his neck - of all his accomplishments, few gave Father Felten more pride than the degrees he earned at Oxford, and the scarf struck me as a very nice touch. All told, this was certainly a day - and a Jesuit - to remember. AMDG.


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