Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fr. Joseph B. Leininger, S.J. "Rest In Peace"

Leininger, Jesuit priest and teacher, He was a popular faculty member at Strake for decades

Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

About a year and a half ago, students lined the hallway at Houston's Strake Jesuit preparatory school and clapped as an 82-year-old Jesuit priest left his math classroom for the last time.
The Rev. Joseph B. Leininger was wearing his customary black cassock with a green Strake Jesuit windbreaker and grinned as he strode past his fans. That day, May 22, 2006, also happened to be the day he and his identical twin, Charles, another Jesuit priest who still teaches Latin in Dallas, were born in 1924. Joseph Leininger had every intention to return to tutor students at his beloved Houston campus, where he had been a fixture for 35 years. But he never made it back. He died Saturday in New Orleans as a result of complications from a heart attack he had shortly after his retirement. "He had traveled to a retreat for Catholic novices in Louisiana and he had the attack there," said Rick Rivers, Strake Jesuit's spokesman. "He was weakened, but did not want any money spent on him. He refused surgery." The popular teacher was known to use his words sparingly. At his own retirement party at the Houstonian hotel, he had to be persuaded to give a speech, school officials said. It lasted only two minutes. He did it to raise money for an endowed scholarship in his name, which he started with $100,000 of his own money in 2003, said Richard Nevle, the school's principal. The amount in the fund has more than tripled since then. The same year Leininger retired, he received the Spring Branch Education Foundation's Crystal Award for being one of the six best teachers in the Gulf Coast area. In the past, his students jokingly nicknamed him "Darth Vader," for his black attire and seemingly stern demeanor when standing outside his classroom waiting for students to arrive, Nevle recalled. But at the same time, Nevle said many of Leininger's students would return after they graduated to talk over personal problems. "They trusted him and knew he cared," Nevel said. His teaching method was to stay at the back of his classroom and turn his students into teachers, by calling them to the board to work problems and letting the other students critique the effort. Once, he had a student with a severe stuttering problem. The student's parents worried that their son could not handle being called to the front of the room. "So Leininger worked with him for a week after school, having him go to the board. Then during class, he just called the student up there and he worked the problem perfectly without a stutter," Nevle said. Teaching runs in his family; his late mother, Josephine Blessing, was a longtime teacher like his twin brother Charles. At age 17, just after graduating from Jesuit High School in New Orleans, the brothers entered the Society of Jesus to become priests. Both would later be ordained in 1953 and take their final vows in 1957. Leininger earned his bachelor's in mathematics from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala., in 1947; his Licentiate of Sacred Theology from St. Louis University in 1955; and a master's of education in mathematics from the University of New Mexico in 1967. He served two years as principal of the Jesuit school in Dallas, but afterward preferred to return to the classroom.
Leininger taught a total of 50 years, spending most of his career in Houston. He is also survived by a sister, Yvonne Leininger of New Orleans. Visitation followed by a Mass is scheduled for 9 a.m. today at the Holy Name of Jesus Church in New Orleans. Burial will be at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau, La. A memorial Mass is planned for 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Parsley Center at Strake Jesuit. Link (here)


From Strake's website
Fr. J. B. Leininger, SJ leaves his classroom for the last time on May 22, 2006.It is with great sadness that Fr. Daniel Lahart, SJ announced that Fr. JB Leininger, SJ passed away on Saturday morning, October 27, 2007. He was a part of the history at Strake Jesuit, and an important part of the lives of many members of the school community. Click here to view Fr. Leininger's obituary. Click here to view the video prepared for Fr. Leininger's Gala in 2006.Please keep Fr. Leininger's family in your prayers, especially his sister and twin brother, along with the other members of his family in the Society of Jesus.


Visitation: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 9:00 - 10:00 AM Holy Name of Jesus Church 6363 St. Charles Avenue New Orleans, LA 70118

Funeral Mass: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 10:00 AM Holy Name Of Jesus Church

Burial: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 St. Charles College Grand Coteau, LA Memorial Mass: Monday, November 5, 2007 7:30 PM Parsley Center Strake Jesuit College Preparatory


Saints of God, come to his aid!

Hasten to meet him, angels of the Lord!

Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,

And let perpetual light shine upon him.

Link (here)

1 comment: said...

For my part every person may read this.