Fr. Z – R.I.P.

News of my demise has been greatly exaggerated.

Instead, please stop and say a prayer for the late Fr. John Zuecher, SJ, a former chaplain at Creighton University Law School who died recently, at 86 years of age.

Creighton University’s Beloved “Fr. Z” Former Law Chaplain, Dies

His smile lit up a room almost as much as the colorful plaid jackets he wore over his priestly blacks. Zuercher was an avid Chicago Bears and Red Sox fan and his favorite hobbies included watching sports and old movies.

The Rev. John “Jack” Zuercher, S.J., former Creighton University Law School Chaplain and founder of the University’s Collaborative Ministry office, died Saturday, May 7, in Omaha. He was 86.

“Fr. Z,” as many knew him, came to Creighton in 1976. During his 35 years at the University he taught psychology courses, founded the Collaborative Ministry Office and served as Chaplain at the School of Law for several years. He most recently worked as a promoter of Christian Life Communities for the North Central Region.

“Our beloved Father Z was a wonderful chaplain for the Law School,” said Marianne Culhane, dean. “In the days before e-mail, he encouraged faculty, staff and students with lively, usually humorous messages on small slips of paper which he delivered to each person’s individual mailbox several times each semester. Some were jokes – at least tangentially – about law and lawyers, and others were short prayers and meditations. I’ll never forget the retreats he organized, his listening skills, his perfect choices for invocations and benedictions and his deep knowledge of psychology when asked for advice. But it’s those little surprise messages that still make me smile.”


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercies of God, rest in peace.

  2. Centristian says:

    “Fr. Z-R.I.P.”

    You nearly put me in the grave with that headline…until logic reminded who must have typed it. [Actually, there are a couple people with keys to the command center, in case of emergency.] It’s early; I haven’t yet had a full cup of coffee. Nevertheless, my fleeting horror and anguish was an interesting lesson in how Christians can come to love one another (even those with whom they do not always see eye-to-eye) and experience pain at the thought of the departure of a fellow Christiam whom one has never even met.

    We say alot of things to each other on Father Z’s blog. Permit me to begin my own participation, today, with a non-saccharin, unsentimental, genuine “I love you” to my fellow Christians who follow this blog and comment upon it. That “I love you” goes first and foremost to the Rev. Blogger, himself. And thank you for providing us with your headlines, your insights, and your details, your humor and even your red-lettered correction, each day. I’m glad you’re not dead. [LOL! Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

    It happened about two years ago, a friend of mine (we’ll call him ‘Ray X’) who isn’t a very close friend and whom I only saw quite occasionally died…so I was told by a co-worker who was a mutual friend. This co-worker even produced the obituary, and so I was convinced that he had left us, and I felt terrible.

    I felt even worse when he pulled up a bar stool next to me a month later and berated me for not sending his wife a Mass card.

  3. Fiat Mihi says:

    I am an alumnus of Creighton Law School. I don’t practice law, because I can’t stand attorneys. : ) Father Z., S.J. was a nice guy. He actually wore a Roman collar, although usually with a tweed jacket, but at a Jesuit university in the 80s and 90s that almost counted as wearing a cassock and biretta. Mass for the law school was in a study room in the library, and looking back I realize that while Father Z, S.J. said the black, although I think he changed all of the masculine pronouns to “God” or “Lord,” something that was trendy at Creighton at the time, there was very little of “doing the red.”

  4. snowowl1234 says:

    [LOL! Do I hear an “Amen”?]


    I am also glad you’re not dead.
    May God bless Father John Zuecher, SJ.

  5. BaedaBenedictus says:

    Fiat Mihi,

    Well, he was the founder of the “Collaborative Ministry” department.

    I pray that this somewhat squishy Fr. Z is up there doing some *real* collaborative ministry with the Lord interceding for souls. Requiescat in Pace!

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