Santa Clara University

Fr. Paul Locatelli 1938-2010

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Memories of Father Locatelli

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A Postcard, Inspiration, & Thanks

Monday, Jul. 19, 2010

I was in Rome a few weeks ago on holiday, and while there a long overdue task came to mind. In 1996 my mother had a severe stroke. At the time she was working at Santa Clara University in Human Resources. During those first weeks after the stroke, friends at the university arranged for a special mass to be said in her honor. Paul celebrated the mass in the Mission, which my family and several friends attended. It meant a lot to us all. While our family on the whole had sent a thank you to the many people who helped us during that difficult time after my mom’s stroke, I thought while in Rome it would be good idea to send a fresh, personal note of thanks to Paul for his kindness and prayers so many years ago. I wrote the thank you on a post card while sitting in St. Peter’s Square, and mailed it to his office at The Jesuit Curia. Little did I know at the time that Paul wouldn’t have a chance to read it. After returning to home I learned of Paul’s illness and like everyone who knew him, was shocked by the news of his death this week. As I sat in the Mission Gardens last night attending the Mass of Christian Burial, I reflected on what Paul’s life had meant, the example he gave us all a person of God and the life time of good work accomplished in so many ways. One of his brothers in the Society of Jesus remarked last night, “Paul was a Jesuit’s Jesuit.” Indeed. The Jesuits changed my life as a student at Santa Clara University. The many lessons they taught me -- Ignatian Spirituality and Service to Others, among others -- and the community of friends I still have from those years, are constant and permanent reminders of the very things Paul’s life was focused on: Love of God, Love of Others, Service to All. The remembrances shared about Paul’s life last night gave me fresh inspiration to follow the example Paul gave us. My parents have two nearly identical photos of Paul on their picture board in their guest room. In both, Paul’s smiling and waving to the camera. One photo, I took on my graduation day before I crossed the commencement stage to shake then President Paul’s hand as a new grad. Five years later my brother Scott took the same photo before he walked across that same stage to shake Paul’s hand for the same reason. I wish I’d had the chance to shake Paul Locatelli’s hand one more time, embrace him in gratitude and love, and wish him well on his journey. Not to be. But last night after the mass, I ate a simple meal of pasta & red wine as a quiet, personal tribute. Godspeed, Paul, and peace to you. We will rise again, indeed. I look forward to that day, to see you again.