Father Carroll Joseph Keating, SJ, died June 13 at Regis Infirmary, Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, after a long illness. He was 83, a member of the Society of Jesus for 65 years, and an ordained priest for 55 years.
Carroll was born in San Francisco on April 21, 1931, the only child of Irish immigrants who met and married in San Francisco. He attended Star of the Sea Grammar School, where he was a member of the boys’ choir. He attended St. Ignatius Prep, 1944-1948, and it was there, he once noted, that he discerned his vocation as a Jesuit: “In grade school, I was impressed by the priests that I knew, but it was not until about the third year of high school that I seriously considered preparing for the priesthood. I was most impressed with the lives and work of the Jesuits who taught me...”
Fr. Keating entered the Jesuit novitiate at Los Gatos following graduation. Classical studies at Los Gatos were followed by philosophical studies at Mount St. Michael’s, Spokane. He then taught Latin and English at Bellarmine College Prep, San Jose, 1955-1958, and pursued theological studies at Alma College, Los Gatos. He was ordained a priest in San Francisco on June 9, 1961.
Fr. Keating’s ministry was divided between the high school classroom and the parish church. Upon completion of training, he taught religion, speech, and English and served as student counselor at St. Ignatius Prep, 1963-1972, before becoming an SI Jesuit community administrator. In 1975-77, he served as chaplain at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, San Jose, returning to the classroom as teacher and counselor at Jesuit High School, Sacramento, 1977-1986. He then served as associate pastor of St. Mel’s Church, Fair Oaks, 1986-2006.
He once reflected, “I have been closely associated with the Church from my earliest days…. It was the desire to serve God in this way of life and work that led me to seek membership in the Society of Jesus…. I have never regretted the choice that I made.”
In both the classroom and the parish, Fr. Keating was known as an uncomplicated and kind priest who displayed continual gentleness and careful attention to the needs of others. In addition to his parish duties, for many years he ministered to the handicapped, or “handicapables” and to many other groups in his quiet, unassuming way.
In declining health, he retired to Jesuit Center, Los Gatos in 2007. Mass of Christian Burial was held June 20 at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center and burial at the Jesuit plot at Santa Clara Mission Cemetery. May he rest in peace.