Saint Peters College Community Mourns Rev. Joseph A. Novak, S.J.

Jersey City, N.J. – On Sunday, January 10, 2010, Rev. Joseph A. Novak, S.J., passed away at Montefiore North Hospital in the Bronx, N.Y. at the age of 82.

Fr. Novak served as the rector of the Jesuit Community at Saint Peter’s College from 1998 to 2004. He also served as a member of the College’s Board of Trustees from 1998 to 2004, and later, as a member of the Board of Regents until his passing.

“I have known him for 65 years, during 11 of which we were in classes together as Jesuit scholars. I will greatly miss him,” noted Rev. Thomas L. Sheridan, S.J., a member of the Jesuit Community and Alumni Board at Saint Peter’s College.

Fr. Novak was born in Jersey City on March 14, 1927 and later attended Xavier High School in Manhattan, where he played baseball and basketball. He joined the Society of Jesus on February 1, 1945 at St. Andrew-on-Hudson in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Fr. Novak was ordained to the priesthood on June 22, 1957.

Fr. Novak was a graduate of Woodstock College, a Jesuit seminary located in Baltimore, and the International Catechetical Center at Lumen Vitae, in Brussels. After pursuing graduate studies in theology and religious education in Brussels and Paris, and teaching at McQuaid Jesuit High School and Lemoyne College, he spent many years at Fordham University where he served as an instructor in the department of religion and religious education; at this time, he also taught at Fordham Preparatory. Fr. Novak was also the University’s rector and in 2004, he became Fordham’s alumni chaplain.

In addition to Saint Peter’s College, he served on the boards of the University of Scranton, the College of the Holy Cross and LeMoyne College. He was the author of Christian Vocation: Call of the King (Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1964).

Rev. Joseph A. Novak, S.J. (Courtesy of Fordham
University  News and Media Relations Bureau)

Father Novak is survived by his brother, Vincent Novak, S.J., founding dean of Fordham’s Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education, and his sisters Lucy Novak and Antoinette Frees, as well as members of the Spellman Jesuit community.

The wake for Fr. Novak will be held on Tuesday, January 12, 2010, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., as well as on Wednesday, January 13, 2010, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Fordham University’s Loyola Hall, located in the Bronx. The funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. at the Fordham University Church, also located in the Bronx. He will be buried at the Jesuit Cemetery in Auriesville, N.Y. following the service.

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Saint Peter’s College, founded in 1872, is a Jesuit, Catholic college in the liberal arts tradition located in the heart of Jersey City, N.J., with a branch campus in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and course offerings on the Jersey City Waterfront and at various corporate sites throughout New Jersey. Educating over 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students in more than 50 programs, Saint Peter’s College is committed to academic excellence and individual attention, preparing students for a lifetime of learning, leadership, and service in a diverse and global society.