Former president of Saint Ignatius High School, Rev. Robert J. Welsh, S.J. died Thursday, August 30, 2018 at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 82 years old.
Born June 6, 1936 and raised in Cleveland, Fr. Welsh graduated from Saint Ignatius High School in 1954. He entered the Jesuit order immediately after graduation and was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1967.
He returned in to Saint Ignatius in 1968 to teach Theology and serve as director of student spiritual counseling. He left Cleveland for one year while he did Tertianship at St. Beuno's College in St. Asaph in North Wales, United Kingdom. Fr. Welsh came back to Saint Ignatius once again in 1973, and worked in the student counseling and religious formation departments. In 1974, he became Development Director, introducing innovative fundraising techniques and conducting the school’s first capital campaign, allowing Saint Ignatius to remain the City of Cleveland. He also established the first Annual Fund to help students in need. It was very important to Fr. Welsh that a Saint Ignatius education be available to all boys, regardless of their families’ income.
In 1979 he became President of Saint Ignatius and led the school until 2000. His goal was to ensure that Saint Ignatius would become – and ultimately remain – a school where students can come to know, love and serve Jesus Christ. To Fr. Welsh, Catholic formation was paramount. He believed a Catholic education included service to others. During his tenure, Sophomore Service and the Arrupe Neighborhood Partnership were launched.
His words, now etched in stone on the Saint Ignatius campus best describe his commitment to Catholic education: “The purpose of our education is to give a young man the tools whereby he can answer the question What does God want from me?”
Fr. Welsh was named a Founder of the school in 1999, an honor bestowed due to his commitment to Catholic education and his insistence that Saint Ignatius High School be an instrument in the apostolate of the Society of Jesus to bring Christ’s light to the world.
“Fr. Welsh’s legacy is immeasurable,” says Saint Ignatius High School President Rev. Raymond P. Guiao, S.J. “His charismatic way of involving everyone in the mission of the school has inspired all of us to better understand the importance of loving Christ. He will truly be missed.”
The wake for Fr. Welsh will be held at St. Mary of the Assumption Chapel on the Saint Ignatius campus on Tuesday, September 4 from 3 to 9 p.m. His funeral Mass will be held at Church of the Gesu in University Heights on Wednesday, September 5 at 10 a.m. Burial will be at All Saints Cemetery in Northfield and will take place immediately following Mass.