Fr. Coz Blog
Read comments from students who were touched by his legacy, along with posts from Fr. Coz and Fr. Engh.
Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011
Earlier this week, I asked several fellow alumnus and close friends of Father Coz, to offer their perspectives on what he has meant to them.
As expected, the responses alluded to Father Coz’s conservative Republican view, his daily viewing of the Fox News Channel, and the fact that his political views were under-represented and under-appreciated at the Jesuit Center.
But to a person they all pointed to a deeper side to Father Coz:
Marte Formico said “Father Coz was a spiritual guide. One who really loved his students at Santa Clara University...He was a priest who really connected with people.”
Paul Neilan reminded me that Father Coz was the inspiration and driving force behind the Studies Abroad program in Durham, England. Paul said Father Coz really knew how to communicate with his students and fondly recalled Father Coz teaching the theories of Supply and Demand… for pizza and beer.
To Steve Erbst, Father Coz was the conduit by which he met many wonderful people from Santa Clara. To this day when Steve meets fellow graduates he invariably asks them 2 questions: What was your major and did you know Father Coz? To Steve, Father Coz has been a common denominator that helped transform and develop long lasting relationships.
Bucky Canales poignantly wrote: “Fr. Coz was a great friend and a true shepherd. He was everything that a Jesuit and Priest should be - loyal, caring, challenging, open to listening, forgiving, supportive, and a shepherd in the truest sense of the word. He kept an eye on his flock long after it had moved on to new pastures and was always there when WE came home to seek comfort.”
Father Coz was all of this and more. And yes, he loved to tell stories. He usually started his stories with “stop me if I have told you this story before.” Never waiting for a response. He loved telling stories about his childhood, going to college in North Carolina, traveling the world, taming the freshman in McLaughlin Hall and his Navy adventures.
Looking back, Father Coz clearly was first and foremost a Jesuit Priest which he loved more than anything else. He loved his vocation, took his vows seriously and lived them fully.
The things he did for us: Taking photographs at football, soccer and rugby games, intramural sporting events, running the Kairos retreats at De La Salle, sending out Christmas Cards, presiding over countless marriages & baptisms, and traveling to Fresno on weekends to say mass… All of these things that he willingly did for us was done to fulfill his life-long commitment to Jesus Christ. And he did it proudly as a Jesuit Priest. That was the foundation upon which he built his life and lived his life.
Father Coz was never judgmental (Although, occasionally he would rip a liberal politician…and for good reason). Father Coz was a compassionate, forgiving and loving person. Yet, for all of his work, he never asked for anything in return.
But, as the saying goes, you reap what you sow. Father Coz sowed the seeds of Christianity from the day he became a Jesuit Priest in 1958 until his passing last week. As a result since his retirement in 2007 he was able to reap the fruits of his work.
On holidays, friends would have him over for dinner. On his birthday and on St. Patrick’s Day you’d find Father Coz surrounded by friends at CB Hannigan’s.
Routinely, countless friends would provide him with computer equipment & software, lunches, dinners, visits, letters, phone calls and e-mails.
Further proof of Father Coz’s far reaching support, is the hugely successful Pause for Coz Scholarship Fund, spearheaded by Steve Erbst. Through the generosity of 330 families many of whom are here tonight the fund now exceeds $550,000 and continues to grow. This Fund will help ensure that Fr. Coz’s legacy continues at Santa Clara University.
Yes, Father Coz has benefited greatly by so many people in so many ways. Yet, in the end he has given us much more than he ever received.
With his passing, the biggest honor we can now bestow upon him is to continue in his footsteps and help others in need in the same way that he has helped us.
Father Coz will be missed by everyone here tonight, but the fond memories he has left behind in his wake will not be forgotten. May God bless you Father Coz!
Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011
Good evening. I am Bob Ladouceur from De La Salle High School. I have worked with and known Fr. Coz the past 11 years.
This has been a painful time for me. Many of you have known Coz much longer than I have, and I envy that. I became acquainted with Coz the last part of his life. I have often heard it said that ‘things happen for a reason” ---whether we like it or not. I’m not sure if I fully agree with that statement, however, when it comes to my relationship with Coz, I believe it’s true. Coz came into my life during the time I lost both of my parents. I wasn’t searching for a new parental role model, but in some way shape or form he became exactly that for me. So when I lost Coz, I felt like I lost another parent. Yet, what makes it even more painful, I understand I lost so much more. I lost my priest, friend, colleague, confidant, sage, and without a doubt, my comedic foil.
I have lived in the Bay Area for 46 years; worked at De La Salle for 32. This is the second time I’ve been to this campus. Yet, through my association with Coz, I feel like I am an alumnus of this school. Through meeting many of you, and listening to the countless Coz stories of the experiences he had with all of you; I know it was here where he spent the best years of his life and where his presence was most vivid.
Whether you lived with him in dorms, was a student in Cozanomics, traveled abroad with him, having him there to witness and participate in your rugby antics, married you, baptized your children, attended your family gathering and parties (and God knows he loved a good party), or simply shared a meal with him (and God knows that man loved a good meal); in short, wherever we encountered Coz, the force was with him, we felt his presence. I often wondered: what is it about this man that makes his presence so different? For me, it can be best summed up in a story he told me 6 years ago when we worked a retreat together. He told of a young, rebellious Santa Clara student that lived in the dorm where Coz was the Resident Advisor. Coz would call him a hell-raiser which means loud, obnoxious, and abrasive. What concerned Coz most was that he was even having trouble relating to his own peers. So Coz worked with him. One evening, while Coz and his student were discussing the existence of God, which he was questioning, he made this statement to Coz: he said, “If there is a God, I know that he likes me.” Coz asked him back, “How do you know that?” And his answer to Coz was, “Because you like me.” This boy gave Coz the highest compliment one person could give to another. He probably didn’t even realize it. I don’t think Coz realized it. When he told me the story, he was trying to make some other crazy point. But the bottom line is this student got it almost right. The truth is God loved him because Coz loved him. This is what Coz’s presence felt like to me. And I’m assuming it’s true for most of you; if not all of you.
I know there have been a lot of holy men and saints that have walked this earth. I had never had the chance to meet one, much less walk with one, work with one, laugh with one---til Fr. Coz. What was it that made him so? His physical appearance didn’t give him away. They say God comes to us in many different forms. I never thought he would appear to me as a cross between Yoda and Mr. Magoo. I wouldn’t hesitate to tell him so since he considered me, and every male that walked the face of the earth, ugly—except himself. And you know what, Coz was Coz—perfect. His snow white hair, awesome blue eyes, big ears, wry smile, sausage fingers, and jovial chuckle. He was beautiful. It was the beauty that emanated from inside of him that made him so. Put simply, the man loved people and loved life. That’s where his God dwelt. I sometimes tried to lure Coz into some theological debates, but he never took the bait. I wanted his take on the existence of God, life eternal, the divinity of Jesus---he wouldn’t play.
He probably thought I was a pompous fool, because for him, his theology was simple and clear. He saw God every day, everywhere, and in everything he did. He saw God in His gift of Earth. He chronicled it through his love of photography and cared for it through his love of flowers and gardening. And what’s most important, he saw God in you and he saw God in me. He saw God in everyone. Young, old, rich, poor, black, white, brown, whole or broken; it didn’t matter to him; we were all children of God. Coz took that knowledge seriously and he approached us all with respect, care, concern, love and service. He was a true disciple of Christ.
To sum up my relationship with Coz, on December 23, I sat with Coz for a long time and I knew he was declining rapidly. It was time for me to go and I was fearful I wouldn’t see him again. I told him I’d be back real soon. He told me not to worry about him and if I can’t make it, it will be ok. I said, “Coz, I’m not coming down here out of charity or obligation to you.” I said, “I come down here for me.” He laughed and said, “In that case, ok.” I love that man.
I want to thank Fr. John Previtt and the entire Sacred Heart Jesuit community. The care and concern you give to each other is astounding and sacramental.
You always made me feel welcomed and a part of your family. Father John, thank you for taking care of Coz and God Bless the work you do.
Tonight we celebrate the life of Father Coz. He would want us to be happy and raise a glass in his memory. But let’s first thank God for showing His love for us by sending this wonderful servant and priest, Father Coz, into our lives.
Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011
We are sad to announce that beloved Santa Clara professor, Father Richard Coz passed away on Friday, December 31 at 8:53 a.m.. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, January 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Mission Church with a reception to follow. More details in regards to the reception to come.