Feb. 18, 2021 – Fr. Herman James Roleke, SJ, son of Willis A. and Helen (Bradley) Roleke, was born on August 31, 1930, in Elizabeth, N.J. He grew up in Roselle Park, N.J., and had his elementary education at St. Genevieve’s, Elizabeth, N.J. After studying four years at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City he entered the Society of Jesus at St. Andrew-on-Hudson on July 30, 1949.
After his Novitiate and Juniorate, he studied Philosophy, first at Bellarmine College in Plattsburgh, N.Y., (1953-1955), then at Loyola Seminary in Shrub Oak, N.Y. (1955-1956).
His Regency years (1956-1959) were spent in the Philippines, first teaching Latin and English at the Ateneo de Cagayan, then adding religion to his teaching load and moving to the Ateneo de Naga.
On returning to the United States, Fr. Roleke studied Theology at Woodstock College (1959-1963) and was ordained on the June 21, 1962, in the Fordham University Chapel by Francis Cardinal Spellman.
After Tertianship he led youth retreats in the Spiritual Exercises at Loyola Jesuit Center in Morristown, N.J. (1964-1967). Following this he began several years of Pastoral Ministry, first at St. Ignatius Parish in Brooklyn (1967-1975), then at Goldwater Hospital (1975-1981).
After working some months in the House of Prayer in Plainview, N.Y., Fr. Roleke did a year of internship at the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth in Wernersville, Pa.
It was after this that he began a 30-year career in pastoral ministry. He first served in St. Antoninus Parish in Newark, N.J. (1982-1984), then in St. Mary’s Parish, Manhasset, N.Y. (1984-89), and after that in St. Anne’s Church in Jersey City, N.J. (1989-1991).
Fr. Roleke completed his work in pastoral ministry when he moved to St. Michael’s Church in Buffalo, N.Y., as associate pastor (1991-2012).
Finally, Fr. Roleke became a member of the Murray-Weigel Kohlmann Community in 2012. It was there he continued his commitment to pray for the Church and the Society of Jesus. May he now rest in the peace of Christ.