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    University of Scranton President Laid to Rest

    Thousands of mourners attended the public viewing and viewed remotley the Mass of Christian Burial for University of Scranton President Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.
    March 17, 2021

    Treasured quotes said by Father Pilarz; words written by his favorite poets; memories penned by University students and bouquets of purple and white flowers adorned the Byron Recreation Complex, which served as the site of a public viewing and Mass of Christian Burial for University of Scranton President Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J.

    Thousands of mourners attended the public viewing for Father Pilarz on Friday, March 12, and thousands more watched the broadcast of his Mass of Christian burial on Saturday, March 13.

    Rev. Herbert Keller, S.J., vice president for mission and ministry at the University and rector of the Scranton Jesuit community, served as principal celebrant for the Mass.

    “Father Scott Pilarz had many loves in his life, and these loves shaped the person, the Jesuit and the priest that he was. Scott was fond of saying ‘don’t waste love,’ and it is clear in his own life, he never did,” said Father Keller in his Homily. He spoke of Father Pilarz’s love for his family, friends, the Church, the Society of Jesus, the sacred mission of Catholic and Jesuit education, the people of northeastern Pennsylvania and The University of Scranton, the place Father Pilarz called in his first Presidential Inaugural address the “miracle in the mountains.”

    “It turned out he was the miracle who inspired us to be our best selves,” said Father Keller. He quoted from a reflection of Father Pilarz shared by former University of Scranton President Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham University: “‘What an iconic son of St. Ignatius, a pastor and a teacher to the end.’”

    “If there is one guiding image that somehow captures the blessings of Father Pilarz’s life, it is that of the teacher. Teaching was the source his fulfillment and happiness,” said Father Keller.

    “Scott saw the amazing possibilities for the transformation of lives in education and the belief that education ultimately reveals to us in (Gerard Manley) Hopkin’s phrase ‘a world charged with the grandeur of God.’”

    In his Homily, Father Keller described lessons of faith, love and hope learned from Father Pilarz, quoting from the Gospel of St. John, and from the words of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, S.J., Saint Robert Southwell, S.J., poet Mary Oliver and “the bard of New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen”

    “We are called on this earth to build one another up. We are called to support each other. Strengthened and loved by God, it is our task in this world to strengthen and love one another. This belief was at the foundation of his vision of a Catholic and Jesuit university – a place where one can discover the extraordinary grace and goodness of God in the ordinary,” said Father Keller. “We thank God for the gift of his life and the blessing that it was to walk this road with him.”

    Steven Surovick, S.J., ’96 cousin of Father Pilarz, concelebrated the Mass and provided the eulogy.

    “No matter which part of the family you are from, be it New Jersey, Georgetown, the Society or Scranton, we knew Scott. We loved Scott. We know that where Scott loved, he lived. We know that where Scott loved, we lived,” said Father Surovick. “In gratitude for the life and love we have known, we continue in that life and continue in that love, until together again.”

    In addition to family and friends, The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, attended the Mass as did dozens of Catholic priests and Jesuits and University of Scranton President-elect Rev. Joseph G. Marina, S.J. The Very Reverend Joseph M. O’Keefe, provincial of the USA East Province of the Society of Jesus, was represented at the Mass by Provincial Assistant Rev. Jack Hanwell, S.J.

    Born in 1959 on the Feast of St. Ignatius, Father Pilarz served as Scranton’s president for two terms: first as the 24th president from 2003-2011; then as the 27th president from 2018-2021. He was the second-longest- serving president in Scranton’s history.

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