Rev. Raymond V. Lelii, SJ, passed away on October 29, 2020 at the age of 94. He was born in Baltimore, Md. on September 18, 1926. He graduated from Loyola Blakefield and Loyola College in Baltimore and entered the Novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues in Wernersville, Pa. in 1949. He studied philosophy at Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL and went on to receive a Bachelor of Sacred Theology at Woodstock College and a Master’s in Biology from Fordham. He was ordained a priest on June 18, 1961.
Following ordination, Fr. Lelii began what would become a 31-year tenure at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, DC. He taught biology for all three decades and theology for 16 years. He was a true advocate for the school, always looking to recruit students and forever coaxing principals and parents of grade schoolers to steer their boys toward Gonzaga. He was also a beloved tennis coach, leading Gonzaga to 11 consecutive championships.
In 1996, Fr. Lelii became the associate pastor at St. Elizabeth Church in Rockville, Md. for two years before becoming associate pastor at nearby Mother Seton Church in Germantown, Md. for a third year. He then returned to Washington, DC, where he taught religion for 12 years at Holy Redeemer Elementary School, while also teaching religion at St. Augustine’s Parish. In 2011, he became a volunteer chaplain at the Keswick and Symphony Manor Senior Homes in Baltimore, where he served for eight years before retiring to the Colombière Jesuit Community in Baltimore.
In 2014, Fr. Lelii received the St. Aloysius Medal from Gonzaga College High School for his many years of dedicated service.