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Fr. Francis G. McManamin, Jesuit priest and teacher, dies

The Rev. Francis G. McManamin, a Jesuit priest who taught history for more than 30 years at Loyola University Maryland and was its sports chaplain, will be remembered Sunday at a memorial Mass at the university.

Father McManamin died of cancer Feb. 24 in Merion Station, Pa. He was 93.

“He was really keen on the sports teams, and he contributed the school spirit,” said Jack Breihan, a history professor emeritus at the school.

Born in Danville, Pa., he was the son of Francis A. McManamin and Mary Kane. He was a 1942 graduate of St. Edward’s High School in Shamokin, Pa., where he was a standout basketball player. He was later named to the Pennsylvania Athletics Hall of Fame.

During World War II he served aboard a landing craft in the Navy.

After his service he entered Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, where he studied and was a catcher on a baseball team. In 1951 he entered the Society of Jesus.

He received a master’s degree in American history and a doctorate at The Catholic University of America. His doctoral dissertation was on the Irish-born journalist, poet and fiction writer James Boyle O’Reilly.

He was ordained a priest in 1961.

Father McManamin joined the faculty of what is now Loyola University Maryland in 1963 and taught there until 1970. After several other assignments he returned in 1981, and remained until 2008.

Between his two periods at Loyola, he taught at Sophia University in Tokyo, Wheeling Jesuit University, the University of Scranton and Saint Joseph’s University. He also had assignments at Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown and at Old St. Joseph’s Church in Society Hill, Philadelphia. In 1975 he was a secretary to an official of the Curia in the Vatican.

During another period, he spent a year teaching at Lujiang University in Fugian, China.

In his second stint at Loyola he served as the university’s sports chaplain. Colleagues described him as a constant presence on the sidelines at men’s and women’s soccer, basketball and lacrosse games.

A 1986 article in The Baltimore Sun said that after Loyola’s soccer team beat the University of Virginia in a National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament game, Father McManamin walked into the Jesuit community’s dining hall and received a round of applause.

Dave Gerrity, Loyola’s associate director of athletics, said, “Father Mac was an old-school chaplain. He would be the first to pat you on the back for a job well done and the first to point out you didn't do your best. And if he felt that someone hadn’t played well, he’d say, in jest, ‘Take that kid’s scholarship away.’ ”

Mr. Gerrity said Father McManamin helped students with their studies and said Mass when the teams traveled. He also led a prayer before a game.

“He went to seminary at Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, and when Loyola played against St. Mary’s, he was conflicted,” said Mr. Breihan. He added: “Frank was a good soldier in the history department. He taught a variety of courses.”

Loyola University Maryland created a Francis G. McManamin Unsung Hero Award in his honor.

After leaving Loyola in 2008, Father McManamin was named a pastoral minister at St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Church in Woodstock, where he served until 2011. He then resided at the Colombiere Jesuit Community in North Roland Park.

He contributed book reviews to The Sun and the Catholic Historical Review.

The memorial Mass on Sunday will be celebrated at 11 a.m. at the university’s Alumni Memorial Chapel, 4501 N. Charles St.

There are no immediate survivors.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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