Mass for Fr. Dinneen Is Today at St. Ignatius Church

Mass for Fr. Dinneen Is Today at St. Ignatius Church

Former chaplain played role in starting MLK Scholarship, Appalachia Volunteers program

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 5 p.m. today in St. Ignatius Church for Rev. John A. Dinneen, SJ, a former University chaplain who helped start two of Boston College's hallmark initiatives in diversity and service. Fr. Dinneen died on Dec. 11 in New York City. He was 74.

Rev. John A. Dinneen, SJ.
Fr. Dinneen was appointed chaplain in 1976, a post he held for 12 years. He also taught philosophy and, in recent years, served in the BC Development Office.

In the late 1970s, Fr. Dinneen helped found the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Committee, a group of BC administrators, faculty and staff members seeking ways of celebrating the memory of the civil rights leader. The committee established an annual scholarship given to BC students whose scholarly and service activities evoke King's life. The King Scholarship is presented at a dinner organized by the committee and featuring a noted guest speaker - past invitees have included Martin Luther King III, US Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), US Civil Rights Commissioner Mary Francis Berry and former BC Law School Dean Rev. Robert Drinan, SJ.

The MLK Committee also presents service awards honoring persons in the greater Boston area for their contributions to the community.

Fr. Dinneen's tenure as University chaplain also saw the launch of the Appalachia Volunteers service trips that now include hundreds of Boston College students each year. Program members participate in mandatory weekly meetings to learn the history of each service site and to contribute to fundraising efforts. The meetings include speakers and other special events to promote awareness and a sense of community within the club.

"Through the 40 years of his Jesuit priesthood, Fr. Dinneen employed his remarkable intellectual talents as well as his warmth and spontaneous interest in assisting young people," said Boston College Chancellor J. Donald Monan, SJ, who was president at the time of Fr. Dinneen's arrival.

"A teacher rather than a research scholar, he brought the best of his European doctoral work to American classrooms in New York and Boston. A capable administrator, both in academic and extracurricular positions, the primary focus of his efforts lay in the assistance and friendship brought to those whom he served," Fr. Monan said.

A native of New York City, Fr. Dinneen entered the Society of Jesus in 1947 and was ordained in 1960. After receiving a doctorate from Belgium's Louvain University, he taught philosophy at St. Peter's College in New Jersey and was dean at Le Moyne College in New York.

Fr. Dinneen also served as a trustee of Le Moyne and the University of Detroit and was a fellow of the American Council on Education.

Following today's memorial, a reception will take place in the Heights Room of the Lower Campus Dining Hall.

A funeral Mass for Fr. Dinneen was said on Dec. 14 at Murray-Weigel Hall at Fordham University.

Fr. Dinneen is survived by three brothers, Rev. James J. Dinneen, SJ, of St Peter's Preparatory School in Jersey City, NJ; Thomas Dinneen of Point Lookout, NY; and William Dinneen of Scottsdale, Ariz.; and a sister, Patricia Maida of Washington, DC.


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