Father W. Peter Bayhi, SJ, died Nov. 10 in St. Louis. He was 87 years old, a Jesuit for 68 years and a priest for 55 years.
Father Bayhi was born in New Orleans on Aug. 9, 1934. He entered the Jesuit novitiate at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, on July 30, 1953, and pronounced first vows on July 31, 1955. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 7, 1966, at Holy Name of Jesus Church in New Orleans. He pronounced final vows as a Jesuit on Sept. 7, 1973.
In 1955, Father Bayhi was sent to Spring Hill College, in Mobile, Alabama, where he studied education and philosophy. He began a long career in secondary education, beginning at Jesuit High School in Dallas. He taught there from 1960-63 and then left for St. Mary’s College in St. Marys, Kansas, for theology studies.
Following his priestly ordination, Father Bayhi was assigned to his alma mater, Jesuit High School in New Orleans, where he taught Latin and coached debate from 1968-72. He then returned to Jesuit Dallas, where he taught Latin until 1981.
For one year, Father Bayhi served as associate pastor at St. Joseph’s Church in Houston, and then returned to teaching, this time at Fordham Prep in Bronx, New York, from 1982-84. His final three years of high school ministry were at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago.
Father Bayhi then began direct spiritual ministry. After completing clinical pastoral education, he served as a chaplain and engaged in pastoral care at Saint Louis University Hospital in St. Louis.
He also had several parish assignments, including Holy Name of Jesus in New Orleans (1994-97) and St. Rita Church in Dallas (1997-99), as associate pastor.
Father Bayhi’s final area of active ministry was as a spiritual and retreat director. He directed retreats and provided spiritual direction at Jesuit Spirituality Center in Grand Coteau for several years before preaching retreats at Manresa Retreat House in Convent, Louisiana. He began a ministry of prayer in 2009.
Father Bayhi is survived by a sister, Norma Duffy. A Mass of the Resurrection is being planned.