Rev. Moffitt, S.J.

The Rev. Joseph M. Moffitt, S.J. (C ’37), theology professor emeritus who spent more than 50 years at Georgetown, died of pneumonia Sept. 17 at the Jesuit Infirmary at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He was 90.

Moffitt’s wake was held in Dahlgren Chapel on Sept. 24 followed by the Mass of Christian Burial. The burial ceremony was on Sept. 25 with internment in Georgetown’s Jesuit Cemetery.

Moffitt served in many positions at Georgetown, including director of undergraduate admissions, assistant dean of the college, assistant prefect of discipline and resident director of Georgetown’s study abroad program in Fribourg, Switzerland. He taught in the theology department until he retired in 1983.

“The thing that impressed me is that he did so many different things for the university,” Charlotte Daniel, assistant to the Rector of the Jesuit Community, said.

Moffitt was born in Philadelphia on Jan. 7, 1913 and entered the Society of Jesus in 1931. After receiving his B.A. from Georgetown in 1937, Moffitt taught at Loyola High School in Baltimore. Moffitt also studied at Fordham University and Woodstock College. Moffitt was ordained a Catholic priest in 1944 and came to Georgetown in 1946 as a student counselor.

In addition to his teaching and administrative roles at Georgetown, Moffitt was involved in many student activities. He was moderator of the College yearbook, the sailing club and the debating society. Moffitt also lived for many years as a Jesuit faculty resident in Copley, then a first-year students’ dormitory. He also served as vice director of the Jesuit Seminary Fund for the Maryland Province.

After his retirement from teaching “Introduction to Scripture” and other bible study courses in the theology department, Moffitt continued to offer religious adult education programs in the Washington area. The Rev. Thomas King, S.J., called offitt “an old anchor in the theology department.”

By 1995 health problems forced Moffitt to reduce his educational work. He also developed Alzeimher’s disease. In June 2003 he left the Georgetown Jesuit residence for the Infirmary at St. Joseph’s.

The Rev. James Martin, S.J., who lived with Moffitt for many years at Georgetown, called him “an excellent Jesuit and an excellent teacher.” He also talked of Moffitt’s passion for golf and said Moffitt played the game well, even into old age.

“The thing I remember most about him is he being a wonderful man – a man of the rule,” Martin said.

“He was a great man with a great sense of humor,” Clara Abbott, a nurse at the Jesuit residence who was described as being one of Moffitt’s best friends, said. “He had a joke for everybody – he became everybody’s sweetheart.”

Abbott recalled that when Moffitt was first under the care of the Jesuit Community staff, he tried to be as independent as possible. When the nurses had to leave for a minute they would tell offitt, “you got the office – you’re in charge.”

“He liked to get up in the morning and sit with us,” Abbott said. “He would always say, `I’m helping you guys out.'”

The Rev. Martin Casey, S.J., entered the Society of Jesus with offitt on the same day in 1931. He recounted Moffitt patiently trying to teach him to play golf, even as Casey would swing and miss the ball entirely. “He was very generous and very polite,” Casey said. “I think everyone misses him.”

Moffitt’s survivors include two nieces and two nephews.

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