National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Jesuit Volunteer founder dies

  • Fr. John Morris, who organized the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and who was known as "Jack" to the thousands of laypeople who served in it over more than a half-century, died Sept. 30 from cancer at age 84. He is pictured in an undated photo. (CNS/Courtesy Jesuits)

A memorial service will be held Friday in Spokane, Wash., for Jesuit Fr. John “Jack” Morris, the priest who named and helped found the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in 1956 and who in 1982 led a 7,000-mile pilgrimage from Bangor Naval Base in Bremerton, Wash., to Bethlehem to call attention to the threat of nuclear weapons.

Morris died Sept. 30 at the Jesuit infirmary in Spokane after a long battle with cancer.

Born in Anaconda, Mont., Morris would have been 85 on Oct. 22.

After high school, Morris served in the U.S. Navy before attending Georgetown University and Regis College in Denver. He entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Sheridan, Ore., in August 1950. He was ordained a priest on June 16, 1962, in Spokane.

Morris helped found Senior Chore Service in Seattle in the early 1980s. Associated with Catholic Community Services, it remains a major source of assistance to low-income seniors.

rectangular-logo.jpgVisit our sister website, Global Sisters Report, for unique content you won't find anywhere else!

In the 1990s, Morris worked in Ugandan refugee camps and helped direct retreats and recovery programs there. Morris returned to the U.S. in 2002 and did parish work at Rockaway, Ore., until failing health led to his retirement.

On April 4, Morris wrote a message to “family, friends, Jesuit Volunteers and former Jesuit Volunteers” that was posted on the Facebook page of the Northwest Jesuits. Morris shared that he had been told he might only have a very short time to live and thanked “all of those who...gave transfusions of prayer and hope.”

The 7 p.m. vigil service Friday will be at the Jesuit House Chapel on the Gonzaga University campus.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Aloysius Church, which adjoins the university. Burial will take place at the Oregon Province Cemetery.

Enjoy this article?
Help support more like it by donating today!

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.


Friends of NCR 300x80 web ad.jpg

NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

September 25-October 8, 2015


Some articles are only available in the print newspaper and Kindle edition.