Jan. 18, 2022 – Fr. Paul McCarthy, SJ, was born in Rochester, N.Y., on June 15, 1924, the son of Patrick and Margaret (Schwan) McCarthy. He attended the grammar school of the local parish, Our Lady of Good Counsel. After graduation he studied six years at St. Andrew’s Minor Seminary in Rochester.
After graduation, when his fellow students entered St. Bernard’s, the Major Seminary, he entered the Society of Jesus on July 30, 1944. Two years of Novitiate and one year of studies of classics at St. Andrew-on-Hudson in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., were followed by three years of study of philosophy and chemistry at Spring Hill College Mobile, Ala. Some of this study was then put to use in a year of teaching chemistry at Regis High School, in New York City from 1950-51.
More studies, however, were in the offing: three years in Worcester, Mass. where he received an MS from Holy Cross College and a PhD from Clark University, both in chemistry; four years of theology at Woodstock, Md., after three years of which he was ordained a priest in June 1957; and one year of ascetical study and pastoral work at Auriesville, N.Y.
His background in chemistry began to bear fruit starting with a year of teaching at St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, N.J. Administrative changes in the order led to his being transferred to Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1960, where he would remain for the rest of his teaching career. During these years of teaching, he also maintained an active interest in research in spectroscopy. This was carried out in collaboration with other chemists and resulted in his being coauthor of about 50 articles published in chemical journals. His years of sabbatical leave for research and study in Copenhagen and Bern were an especially rewarding part of his teaching years.
After his retirement as chemistry professor, Fr. McCarthy went to Salt Lake City, Utah, to do parish work. For the greater part of his nearly two decades there he was associate pastor of St. Thomas More parish in Sandy, a suburb of Salt Lake City. He retired from pastoral work at age 90 and moved to the Jesuit health care center, Murray-Weigel Hall in the Bronx. There he was active in several projects, which aided the community.
While spiritual and pastoral interests as well as science were the principal foci of his life, music and photography also played a part. He studied piano and organ for about six years while in the Minor Seminary, and he found use for his keyboard skills throughout his life. Also pictures of people and places have played an important role in his life.
Fr. McCarthy was very interested in his family’s history. While in Utah he spent a good deal of time at the Family History Library of the Mormon Church, the premier library of its kind in the world. From his work there he was able to gather much data about his ancestors. This resulted in a lengthy family history, which he shared with about 100 relatives.
He was fond of skiing and managed to ski quite a lot during his time in Utah. At age 86 he stopped skiing due to health problems.
Fr. McCarthy died peacefully on Jan. 18, 2022, at the age of 97 at Murray-Weigel. He has donated his body to the NY University Medical School. At the completion of their use, the remains will be cremated and buried in the Jesuit Cemetery at Auriesville, N.Y. Please remember him in your prayers.