Father Rodriguez, former Jesuit provincial, dies at 82

Jesuit Father Edmundo Rodriguez, who served as provincial of the New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus from 1983-89, died Oct. 28 in Opelousas, Louisiana. He was 82 years old and had served as a Jesuit for 64 years and as a priest for 51 years.

A native of El Paso, Texas, he entered the Jesuits on Aug. 14, 1953, at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 7, 1966, at Holy Name of Jesus Church in New Orleans and pronounced final vows in El Paso on New Year’s Day 1978.

After his ordination, he started a program for children living on the streets in El Paso. When he was reassigned to Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in San Antonio from 1968-80, he continued his direct contact with the poor.

In 1980, he moved to New Orleans as pastoral assistant to the provincial and was instrumental in bringing men from the New Orleans Province to work in Paraguay.

He became provincial of the New Orleans Province in 1983 and participated in the general congregation that elected Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach as superior general. Following his term as provincial, he accompanied Father Kolvenbach to El Salvador after the murders of six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter.

After three years as academic dean at Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving, Texas, he became superior and director of the Jesuit Spirituality Center in Grand Coteau from 1993-99. He also worked with the National Catholic Council on Hispanic Ministry, a leadership program for young Hispanic Catholic leaders throughout the U.S.

After a year at St. Rita Parish in Dallas, he was named pastor and Jesuit superior at Immaculate Conception Parish in Albuquerque, New Mexico (2000-08). He served as a retreat and spiritual director at Montserrat Retreat House in Lake Dallas, Texas from 2009-15.

He moved to the St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Pavilion in Grand Coteau in 2015 and continued helping with retreats and other endeavors until a recent fall required him to move to a rehabilitation center.

Prior to his ordination, he taught for two years at Jesuit High School in New Orleans.

He is survived by his sisters Elisa Rodriguez, Susana Marquez, Aurora Powell, Rebecca Ballon and Gloria Rodriguez and his brothers, Guillermo Rodriguez and Jaime Rodriguez.

His Funeral Mass was celebrated Oct. 31 in the St. Charles College Chapel in Grand Coteau. Burial was in the Jesuit Cemetery at St. Charles College.

Memorial gifts may be made to the USA Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus at 4511 West Pine Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108 or online at http://jesuitscentralsouthern.org.

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