Longtime CLA member and volunteer, Father Eugene “Gene” Rooney died June 22, 2016 at Manresa Jesuit Community, Merion Station, Pa. Born November 29, 1926, he entered the Jesuits in 1944, and was ordained a priest in 1957.
Father Rooney’s ministry and career as teacher, librarian, chaplain and retreat director oscillated between Philadelphia, Scranton, Washington and Baltimore in the U.S. and various cities in Chile and Uruguay in South America.
It was during his time as librarian and coordinator of communications at Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University (1986-1994) that Father Rooney was a volunteer indexer for The Catholic Periodical and Literature Index. He primarily indexed Vatican serials and documents, most of which were in Latin. Upon his 1994 assignment to South America, he persuaded his successor at Woodstock to continue indexing for CPLI.
In addition to CPLI indexing, Father Rooney was a published author in Catholic Library World.
Known to his friends as “Gene” and to his family as “Bud” his email communications from Chile would keep friends and family informed about his travels to Jesuit libraries and archives where he’d serve as consultant. He was also responsible for planning repairs to a Jesuit archives following one of the Chilean earthquakes. Father Rooney’s Irish humor was evident in his communications, which usually included a witty cartoon character or two.
A faithful CLA member, Father Rooney’s membership payment arrived each year, even from South America. To reunite with family and CLA colleagues, he tried to plan his home visits to coincide with the year the NCEA/CLA convention would be held in Baltimore. In 2007 he offered a reflection during CLA’s Inaugural Prayer Breakfast.