A funeral Mass for Jesuit Father Joseph F. Bona was celebrated July 29 at the St. Charles College Chapel in Grand Coteau, La. Father Bona died July 17 in Grand Coteau. He was 91 years old and a priest for 45 years. September 1 would have been his 50th jubilee in the Society of Jesus.
Born Sept. 28, 1925, in Omaha, Neb., he entered the Jesuits at St. Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant on Sept. 1, 1967 at the age of 41, by far the senior member of his novitiate class. His formation moved quickly, setting a record in the former Missouri Province for the shortest time between entrance and ordination: four years, eight months. In addition to fulfilling the requirements in philosophy and theology, Father Bona also took courses in business and accounting.
He made first vows in 1969 and was ordained May 11, 1972, at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church in St. Louis. He pronounced final vows on May 22, 1978, in the cave of St. Ignatius at Manresa in Spain.
Father Bona attended the University of Houston, 1945-47, and the University of California-Berkeley, where he earned an associate's degree in anthropology in 1949. He earned a bachelor's in philosophy and English at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, studying there 1952-57.
In the Archdiocese of St. Louis, he served at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church. He also ministered in Kansas City and Liberty, Mo., Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Colorado.