Father Robert Lewis McDevitt, S.J., entered into God’s peace after a brief illness on September 10 in Regis Infirmary, Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos. He was 88.
Bob was born in Los Angeles on May 2, 1926, the only child of Lewis T. and Mary P. McDevitt. He attended Loyola High School and served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific, 1944-46. He attended Loyola University for a year before entering the Jesuit novitiate at Los Gatos on September 7, 1947.
Following studies there and at Gonzaga University, Bob taught U.S. history and civics at St. Ignatius High School, San Francisco (1954-56), and Loyola High School, Los Angeles (1956-57). Theological studies were made at Alma College, Los Gatos, and Bob was ordained a priest at Blessed Sacrament Church, Hollywood, on June 9, 1960.
Fr. McDevitt’s ministry for many years was in the high school classroom at Loyola High School, teaching religion and offering spiritual counseling, 1962-73. He then went into retreat work and spiritual direction. Based in Southern California, he gave retreats and conferences to high school groups, women religious, and others all over the West.
He also served in parish ministry at Jesuit churches in Santa Barbara and San Francisco. In 2001, he moved to Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, where he continued his ministry in semi-retirement.
Fr. McDevitt was known for his gentleness, generosity, common sense, good balance, zeal, and prudence. His sensitive spiritual counsel brought comfort and direction to many. He was also known for his love of music from the Big Band era and his ardent devotion to Notre Dame football. “Coach” McDevitt never missed a televised game.
A notable characteristic of Fr. McDevitt was gratitude. Some years ago, he noted, “Since the day I entered the novitiate, I have felt it an honor to be part of the Society. After almost 32 years, I still stand in awe of the wonderful men who make our brotherhood. I am still humbled when I think of the confidence (Superiors) put in me when (they) appointed me (to various positions).”
Fr. McDevitt is survived by cousins Michael McDevitt, of Half Moon Bay, and Michael Huston, of Saratoga.
Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Thursday, September 18 at 10:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, 300 College Avenue, Los Gatos, with burial immediately following at Santa Clara Mission Cemetery, 490 Lincoln Street, Santa Clara.
Donations in memory of Fr. McDevitt may be made to the California Province of the Society of Jesus, P.O. Box 68, Los Gatos, CA 95031, by calling (408) 884-1632, or online at www.jesuitscalifornia.org/donation