Remembering Fr. Edward Dougherty, SJ, beloved teacher and minister who spent a decade in Africa

Rev. Edward C. Dougherty, SJ, was born in Philadelphia, Pa. on February 28, 1941. He graduated from St. Joseph’s Prep and entered the Novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues in Wernersville, Pa. in 1959. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s in the Classics from Loyola Seminary in Shrub Oak, NY, a Master of Divinity from Woodstock College in Maryland and a Master of Theological Studies from Woodstock College in New York. He was ordained a priest on June 3, 1972.

Following ordination, Fr. Dougherty taught religion and Latin for six years at Georgetown Prep near Washington, D.C. Then, following several years in special studies, he taught Theology for a year at St. Joseph’s University before becoming socius to the master of novices at the Novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues in Wernersville, where he remained for four years.

In 1990, Fr. Dougherty moved to the Manresa on Severn retreat house in Annapolis where he directed retreats for three years. He then took an assignment overseas that would last for eleven years, teaching sacred scripture at the St. Joseph’s Theological Institute in Merrivale, South Africa. His students came from many African countries, as well as from all over the world.

After a much-deserved sabbatical, Fr. Dougherty embarked on what would fortuitously be two seven-year assignments at two Jesuit parishes whose histories date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. He first became parochial vicar at St. Ignatius Church in Port Tobacco, Md., the oldest Catholic Parish in continuous service in the United States. He served parishioners there, as well as his brother Jesuits as superior of the community in Southern Maryland. In 2013, he moved back to Philadelphia to serve as a priest at Old St. Joseph’s Church, the city’s oldest Catholic Church.

Early in 2020, Fr. Dougherty retired from active ministry and moved to the Jesuit community at Saint Joseph’s University. He died on April 28, 2020 at the age of 79.

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