A funeral Mass for Jesuit Father Paul V. Stark was celebrated Nov. 29 at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church in St. Louis. Father Stark died Nov. 16 in St. Louis. He was 74 years old, a Jesuit for 44 years and a priest for 36 years.
Born in Kansas City, Kansas, Father Stark converted to Roman Catholicism in 1970 at the age of 23. Following his graduation from Kansas University with a bachelor’s degree in education/language arts, he taught at a public school in Kansas City, Kansas, and worked in various programs for children with disabilities or behavioral problems, and for a year at Rockhurst High School, a Jesuit high school in Kansas City, Missouri. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1977 and pronounced first vows in 1979. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1985, at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church.
Father Stark taught at St. Louis University High, Rockhurst High and Regis Jesuit High in Aurora, Colorado. After serving for a year in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University (1993-94), he began work at Saint Louis University as campus minister, assistant to the president and vice-president for student development. He also served in several administrative roles at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, W.V., including director of mission identity, associate dean of student development and director of campus ministry.
He returned to Saint Louis University in 2008 to work in the Office of Advancement/Alumni Relations and then was vice-president for mission and ministry (2011-15).
After a year’s sabbatical, he became parochial vicar at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Peoria, Illinois, a position he held until ill health dictated his move to the Fusz Pavilion at Jesuit Hall in St. Louis in October 2021.
Father Stark’s theology studies were at Regis College in Toronto, Ontario, where he earned a master’s of divinity degree in 1985.
Survivors include his mother, Shirlee Ann Stark, and two brothers, Terrence and David Stark.