Father Joseph R. Rooney, S.J., a Jesuit priest for 47 years, died on Feb. 3, at Murray-Weigel Hall, the Bronx. He was 79 years old and a member of the Society of Jesus for 60 years.

Joseph Rooney
Father Rooney, S.J.

Born in Jackson Heights, he attended Xavier H.S., Manhattan; Mount St. Michael Academy, the Bronx; and St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights. He then followed his two older brothers, Eugene and Francis, into the Jesuits.

Before studying for the priesthood, he taught physics and general science at Xavier H.S., 1960-63. He was ordained a priest at the Fordham University Chapel on June 6, 1966. His last year of spiritual formation was at St. Buenos College, Wales. He then began a long career in the high school classroom, teaching at Fordham Prep, the Bronx, 1968-98, interrupted only by one year on sabbatical at Fordham University.

After 32 years of teaching, he went into parish work in the Diocese of Salt Lake City, at first as administrator and then pastor at St. Pius X Church in Moad, Utah, 1998-2004, and as pastor at San Andres and St. Patrick in Payson, Utah, 2004-12. This also enabled him to take up his favorite hobby of landscape photography in southern Utah.

He is survived by his oldest brother, Father Eugene Rooney, S.J., who resides at the Colombiere Jesuit Community, Baltimore.

Burial was in the Jesuit cemetery in Auriesville, N.Y.


Brother Thomas Woods, S.C., a Brother of the Sacred Heart for 63 years, died Jan. 17 at Ozanam Hall, Bayside.

Brother Thomas
Brother Thomas

He entered the community in 1946 from St. Luke’s parish in the Bronx and completed his formation in Metuchen, N.J. He received academic degrees in Latin from Spring Hill College, Mobile, Ala., and in guidance and educational psychology from Fordham University in the Bronx.

He served in the Brothers’ schools in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, New York and New Jersey in various capacities as teacher, administrator, glee club moderator and coach.

Locally, he was principal of Msgr. McClancy M.H.S., East Elmhurst, 1972-79. He also was stationed in the former Bishop Reilly H.S., Fresh Meadows, 1963-72, and served as principal of the boys’ division, 1968-72.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Jan. 31 at Our Lady of Fatima, East Elmhurst.

Interment followed in the Brothers’ Cemetery, Metuchen.

Sister Joseph Lucille Lips, O.P., a Sister of St. Dominic, Amityville, L.I., for 63 years, died Feb. 8. She was 82.

Sister Joseph

Born in Flushing, she was baptized Marie. She entered the congregation from St. Luke, Whitestone, in 1951. She received the habit and her religious name the following year. On Aug. 7, 1953, she pronounced her final vows.

She taught at Incarnation, Queens Village, 1953-56. After serving two years in Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Lindenhurst, L.I., she taught in St. Leonard, Bushwick, 1958-65. She then moved to St. Hugh of Lincoln, Huntington Station, L.I., 1965-68.

From 1968 to 2007, she ministered to the people of St. Luke Church, in the school and then in the outreach program.

She moved to St. Mel’s Convent, Flushing, 2007-09, and then to Carlin Hall, Amityville, because of poor health.

She is survived by Brother Anton Joseph Lips, C.F.C., her brother, and Geraldine Korsch, her sister.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated in St. Albert’s Chapel, Amityville, Feb. 12.

Interment in the Sisters’ Cemetery followed.

Joe A. Spence, 90, the father of Catholic News Service director and editor-in-chief Tony Spence, died Feb. 8 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., following a short illness.

Other immediate survivors include Ruth, his wife of 65 years, two sons, five grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Services were conducted on Thursday and Friday in Nashville.

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