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September 3, 2020 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Paul V. Mankowski, SJ, who died on September 3, 2020 in Evanston, Illinois. He was 66 years old. May he rest in peace. Father Mankowski died due to a brain hemorrhage caused by a ruptured brain aneurysm.
Paul was born on November 15, 1953 in South Bend, Indiana. Before entering, he earned an A.B.in Classics and Philosophy from the University of Chicago. Paul entered the Society of Jesus on September 5, 1976, at Berkley, Michigan. He was ordained on June 13, 1987, and he professed final vows on December 12, 2012, in the Chapel of Ignatius House on the campus of Loyola University Chicago.
Paul earned a M.A. in classics from Oxford University (1983). He earned a Master of Divinity and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from Weston Jesuit School of Theology (1987). Paul earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Semitic Philology from Harvard University (1997).
During regency, Paul studied at Oxford University (1979-1983) before teaching at Xavier University (1983-1984). After doctoral studies, Paul was a professor of Old Testament languages at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, Italy (1994-2009). He returned to the states, made Tertianship, and taught at Graham School of General Studies at the University of Chicago (2010-2011). Paul spent a year as acting pastor of Sacred Heart Church English Language Parish in Amman, Jordan before, in 2012, becoming a Scholar-in-Residence at Lumen Christi Institute, University of Chicago.
Paul loved his college years at the University of Chicago where he deeply appreciated the "great books" classical approach to education. During some of those years, Paul worked in the nearby steel mills to help support himself. As a hobby, Paul also enjoyed boxing when he was in studies, including as a Jesuit. (One friend recounted an anecdote recalling a time when Paul came to class in theology with a cut on his face and, with his characteristic self-effacing wit, Paul said that it happened by accident when he was shaving.) In the Society, Paul did the Literae humaniores ("Mods and Greats") program at Oxford
the aim of which was for students to develop their ability to read fluently in Latin (especially the Aeneid of Virgil) and Greek (concentrating on the Iliad and the Odyssey), as well as Greek and Roman history, other classical literature and philosophy. These early years laid the foundation for Paul's lifelong devotion to learning, reading widely in theology, biblical studies, philosophy and political thought. Paul was always knowledgeable about contemporary events in church, politics and culture, and ready to offer his perspective when engaged on these subjects, always rooted in his devotion to tradition and orthodoxy. He was very devoted to his family and cherished Sunday dinners frequently at the home of one his sisters who was married to a college friend of Paul's. Paul was deeply devoted to the Mass and the sacraments. He was generous with his supply work to Calvert House, the Newman Center at the University of Chicago, various parishes, as well as for communities of women religious around the world.
Paul's years in Rome at Pontifical Biblical Institute found him teaching ancient biblical languages to eager students from around the world. At the same time, he regularly read widely in contemporary theology and was sought after by many important church leaders to offer his advice and perspective. Paul had firm opinions about things such as the most recent translations of the lectionary and Roman Missal which he regarded as improvements. From time to time, Paul would offer book reviews and articles to the noted review, "First Things."
The past eight years when Paul was missioned to the Lumen Christi Institute, located amidst the University of Chicago, was a homecoming for Paul. His prodigious and wide-ranging intellect found a home there. Paul taught widely appreciated non-credit courses to undergraduates on a wide range of subjects in theology and the classics. Through Lumen Christi, Paul also offered regular "Great Books" seminars in the "classics" to accomplished professional men and women. For those going through RCIA at nearby Calvert House, Paul would offer supplementary sessions for those eager to deepen their knowledge of the faith. (With his customary understatement and tongue-in-cheek humor, Paul would describe these sessions as offering "vitamins" to the catechumens!) Paul was deeply loved and respected by the community of scholars involved in the Lumen Christi Institute and his death will leave a huge void.
In Jesuit community, Paul was a quiet, but kind and caring presence for his brothers, and was known for his quick wit and sense of humor. You could set your watch by his morning walks and prayer time. When men in formation would live at Woodlawn, Paul would offer to celebrate Mass for them. When needed, Paul would cook, clean, and care for the sick. Paul would not call attention to himself when he did these quiet acts of service. For all his tremendous intellectual and linguistic gifts, Paul wore them all lightly and was, deep down, a humble man who never forgot where he came from and to whom he belonged and whom he loved. While Paul had his theological, philosophical and political differences with many of his Jesuit brothers and, at times, superiors, Paul's deep love of the church, the Society of Jesus and his Jesuit vocation was the bedrock of his life, convinced that fidelity to this vocation was his way to salvation.
More information about Paul's work at Lumen Christi Institute can be found at the Lumen Christi Institute
Wake and Mass of Christian Burial
Tuesday, 8 September, 11:30am.
St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church
5472 South Kimbark Avenue
Chicago, IL 60615
Watch the LiveStream at: https://www.facebook.com/St.ThomastheApostleHydePark/live/
c/o Patrick Fairbanks, S.J.
1025 West Taylor Street
Chicago, IL 60607-4226
c/o Joan Mankowski, MD
11975 W. Ida Dr.
Littleton, CO 80127
In Paul's memory, "The Fr. Paul V. Mankowski, S.J., Memorial Fund for Jesuit Scholarship at Lumen Christi" has been established.