Fr. Paul V. Stark, SJ, dies at 74; memorial Mass is Nov. 30 at St. Thomas, Peoria Heights

Father Paul V. Stark, SJ

A memorial Mass will be celebrated at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Peoria Heights at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 30, for Father Paul V. Stark, SJ, who served as parochial vicar at the parish since 2016. A reception will follow in the parish hall.

Father Stark, a Jesuit for 44 years and a priest for 36 years whose ministry was mostly in education, died Nov. 16, 2021, in St. Louis. He was 74.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at St. Francis Xavier College Church in St. Louis at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 29, with visitation beginning at 9 a.m.

Born Aug. 4, 1947, in Kansas City, Kansas, to Paul and Shirlee Ann Stark, he earned a bachelor of science degree in education and language arts from Kansas University. He taught at a public school in Kansas City, Kansas, worked in various programs for children with disabilities or behavioral problems, and also taught for a year at Rockhurst High School, a Jesuit high school in Kansas City, Missouri.

Father Stark converted to Catholicism at the age of 23, and entered the Society of Jesus on Aug. 18, 1977. He pronounced first vows on Aug. 18, 1979, and his theology studies were at Regis College in Toronto, Ontario, where he earned a Master of Divinity degree in 1985.

He was ordained to the priesthood on June 7, 1985, at St. Francis Xavier College Church, St. Louis.

SERVED IN HIGHER EDUCATION

He taught at St. Louis University High, Rockhurst High (1987-93) and Regis Jesuit High in Aurora, Colorado. However, most of his education work was in higher education. After serving for a year in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University (1993-94), he began work at Saint Louis University as campus minister, assistant to the president and vice-president for student development. He also served in several administrative roles at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia, including as director of mission identity, associate dean of student development, and director of campus ministry.

He returned to Saint Louis University in 2008 to work in the Office of Advancement/Alumni Relations and then was vice-president for mission and ministry (2011-2015).

After a year’s sabbatical, he became parochial vicar at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Peoria Heights, where he served until ill health dictated his move to the Fusz Pavilion at Jesuit Hall in St. Louis in October 2021.

Father Stark was preceded in death by his father, and is survived by his mother as well as two brothers,  Terrence and David Stark.

Memorial gifts may be made to the USA Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus at 4511 West Pine Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108 or through this website.

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