June 5, 2017 - Michael T. Siconolfi, SJ, was born Sept. 7, 1942, entered the Society of Jesus in 1960, was ordained in 1972, took his final vows in 1992, and died June 4, 2017.
Asked what words might best express the essence of Mike Siconolfi, SJ, a number of his friends agree on “energy.” Another suggests “enthusiasm.” Mike was active and productive, and when he referred to love, it might mean his love of teaching, or love for the beauty of Rome, where he loved to visit, or that he loved to cook dinner for a group of friends.
Fr. Siconolfi’s teaching career began at Canisius High School in Buffalo, N.Y., during regency. He later taught English Literature at Gonzaga University in Spokane from 1977 to 1999, during which he received his PhD in Literature from Syracuse University. He demanded high standards in his writing classes, directed the honors program for eight years and initiated the junior year abroad in Oxford and Florence, Italy, where he also taught for three summers. He also organized and coached the rowing team, raised money for the new boat house and became a national vice-chairman of the U.S. Rowing association while remaining active in national rowing for over 20 years.
He left Gonzaga to become president of Lexington Catholic High School in Lexington, Ky., for one year.
His second major home became Le Moyne College in Syracuse from 2000 to 2005. Here, as minister and assistant to the president, as well as English professor, his administrative skills were utilized, particularly his tendency to redesign institutions and programs to make them more efficient. He had overseen the building of the auditorium, gym, chapel and classrooms in Lexington. Foreseeing current energy crisis reform, he built a geothermal heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system for the Jesuit residence and guided the extensive remodeling of the community kitchen and dining room.
Between 2005 and 2006 he switched to living as minister, at Kohlmann Hall in the Bronx, while teaching English at Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y. Then, open to adventure and change, he became a contract Catholic chaplain at the U.S. Air Force Andrews Joint Base, Md., followed by the Marine Corps Base Headquarters at Quantico Va. It was a complex, challenging activity, with responsibility for religious services in a variety of schools, including the FBI Academy and participation in ceremonies for change in command, retirement and burials. He succeeded in increasing Mass attendance over three years by 40 percent to 500 active military personnel and civilian employees. He also introduced a father-son retreat, a Poetry and Prayer seminar, oversaw marriage preparation programs and was ready with copies of his sermons for those who requested them.
For the last several months, he lived at Murray Weigel Hall, adjacent to the Fordham campus, a residence for retired priests and brothers. His problem was not age, but illness, which was taking its toll. Still, his main preoccupation during these months remained the search for another job, always with much to do.
Sun., June 11, 2017
3:00-5:00 & 7:00-8:30 PM (Prayer Service at 7:00 PM)
Murray-Weigel Hall Chapel
515 East Fordham Road
Bronx, NY 10458
MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL:
Mon., June 12, 2017
Fordham unviersity ChurchBURIAL:
Jesuit Cemetery, Auriesville, NY