BY ISN STAFF | October 23, 2014
Our prayers are with the St. Ignatius High School community in Cleveland.Early this morning the community at St. Ignatius received news that Mr. Jim Skerl, long-time theology faculty member and alumnus of the Class of 1974, passed away after a long but valiant battle with cancer. Jim was a prophetic example of Christian faith, living out St. Ignatius’ call to show love in “deeds more than words.”
Jim’s faith inspired him to found two key St. Ignatius outreach programs that exemplify a commitment to service and solidarity with those marginalized in our society.
In 2002, Jim helped start the Saint Joseph Benedict Labre outreach program to support people in the Cleveland-area who are homeless. Grounded in companionship and fellowship, the Labre program has been sending out groups to be “with” those who are homeless throughout Cleveland for over 12 years. Groups go out 52-weeks a year, visiting those who are homeless where they live – on street corners, under bridges, etc. Over the years many other Jesuit universities and high schools have adopted the Labre Program across the country – a testament to Jim’s legacy.
That same year Jim helped initiate the Saint Joseph of Arimathea Pallbearer Ministry. Since its founding, over 400 Saint Ignatius juniors and seniors have served at more than 1,200 funerals. Student pallbearers pledge to serve with respect and dignity. Through the experience, students learn to offer sympathy and support to others as well as hope in the face of death. Funeral directors from twenty area funeral homes seek these services and the ministry continues to operate on weekends and during school and summer vacations.
Thousands of St. Ignatius students, alumni, parents, and friends have been impacted by these programs over the years because of Jim’s leadership.
We offer prayers for Jim, his family, and the entire St. Ignatius High School community as they mourn Jim’s loss but also celebrate his legacy.
[SOURCE: WJW Channel, Cleveland]