A Prayer for Father Ray Schroth, SJ

by Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D. Profiles in Catholicism


Good and gracious God,


We bring to you the life of your Jesuit son Father Ray Schroth, SJ. He was a priest, a journalist and a teacher of students. He was rigorous in his class preparations. He demanded much of his students and was popular among them. He cared for their well-being. He befriended many; encouraged all. He presided at the weddings of more than a few. His teaching inspired generations of learners, men, and women, now well into their professional lives. Among them, notable attorneys and journalists, including Pulitzer Prize winners. As much as he loved to teach, he also loved to report. He viewed journalism as a noble calling. In an NCR review of a 2018 Seymour Hersh memoir, Schroth wrote: "Journalism embodies the basic virtues of society. We need the press to condemn what is wrong and embrace what is best for the community." His keen moral outlook spilled beyond his classes. While teaching at Fordham, for example, he initiated the "Great Walk," an annual student trek from Manhattan's Battery Park to the Bronx campus, showing them parts of New York City that they might not otherwise see, according to one Fordham News account. We see Lord, a man who balances his relationship with you and his dedication to the students he teaches as well as the words he writes. Schroth used his literature classes to excite minds, to explore the human condition, and to cast light and hope. He was passionate and frequently made waves; his style did not always endear him to his peers. During his career, he left his marks at Rockhurst College, Loyola University New Orleans, Georgetown University, Fordham, College of the Holy Cross, and St. Peter's College in Jersey City, New Jersey, where he ended up a professor of humanities.


Dear Lord, during his short but prolific life on earth he wrote eight books. Two were biographies, choices that revealed his heroes, and some of his character. He focused his biographical research on Eric Sevareid, the CBS newscaster, and Jesuit Fr. Robert Drinan, who served six terms in Congress. Of Schroth's The American Journey of Eric Sevareid, a Los Angeles Daily News reviewer wrote that it was "as much a primer on good journalism as it is a biography." Schroth admired Drinan, 13 years his senior, and another Jesuit of passion and global reach. Schroth's admiration showed in his treatise Bob Drinan: The Controversial Life of the First Catholic Priest Elected to Congress). Publisher’s Weekly seemed to get it right when it called the book a "loving tribute." As a book enthusiast, Schroth enjoyed compiling book lists. He was attracted to the classics but also sought out books that he felt shed extra light or hope. His life, Lord was filled with joy in doing the work for the kingdom. Bless him now and forever.