Farewell, Fr. Locatelli
Gratitude and grief are the emotions that so many of us feel—though not exactly in equal measure, truth be told, for in thinking about the death of Paul Locatelli, S.J. ’60 the sadness is indeed profound. A remarkable man died on the morning of July 12—priest and president and chancellor, brother and son and uncle—a man who, in 72 years, accomplished several lifetimes’ worth of good things. We feel gratitude for all that he’s done and who he’s been for this place and the people who were blessed to know him: at this university, among his families—the Locatellis and his Jesuit brothers—as well as in the wider community of Silicon Valley and around the world.
Seldom does one meet a man of such boundless energy, a fact that makes the suddenness of his illness and death all the more shocking: In May he learned that he had a tumor on his pancreas, and in July he was dead. And then in the fading light of a July evening, 2,500 mourners gathered in the Mission Gardens for his Burial Mass. It was a beautiful and fitting tribute, and for the next issue of this magazine, we will bring together memories of Fr. Locatelli shared by members of the Santa Clara community. We invite you to share your thoughts and words as well, either by mail or online, at www.scu.edu/locatelli.
This April, at an international conference in Mexico City, leaders in Jesuit higher education saw firsthand what was taking shape as Fr. Locatelli’s next great endeavor as the Secretary for Higher Education for the Society of Jesus: helping participants in this unequaled global network of educational institutions imagine what might be accomplished together, leveraging ideas and resources from universities worldwide to address the challenges we share by virtue of living on this planet. For the next issue of SCM, we had already planned on exploring the ideas and discussions of that conference in depth. It seems only fitting that the same issue will pair a look at this global effort with personal reflections much closer to home.
But now, looking within the issue of the magazine at hand—covered by an image that speaks to the elegant symmetry and beauty in this blessed world—in the In Memoriam section you’ll find Gerald McKevitt, S.J., offering his reflections on the death of a fellow Jesuit. Throughout the following pages, we hope you’ll find the qualities of imagination and joy of discovery that define the ongoing educational project that lies before all of us. Those are qualities Fr. Locatelli certainly appreciated, particularly as they informed an understanding of what it means to work for social justice. At commencement ceremonies two years ago, he offered the graduating class a few pieces of advice: “Turn off your cell phone and laptop often…. Rather, spend time in solitude—reading and listening to discover where your greatest desires lie.” He also spoke of his fondness for museums, galleries, plays, and photography, all of which, he said, help him “see the transcendence and beauty of God on Earth, at one end of the spectrum, and at the other, the mystery of human adventure that redeems the pain of living and tragedy of dying.”
Keep the faith,
Steven Boyd Saum