Father Michael R. Pastizzo, SJ, retired professor of religious studies at Jesuit universities in the United States and Rome, died December 16, 2021, at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California. He was 87 years old and was a Jesuit for 61 years.
Fr. Pastizzo was born in Niagara Falls, New York, on November 3, 1934. He received a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Buffalo (now part of the SUNY system) in 1956 and worked for four years with the Northrup Corporation in Los Angeles before entering the Jesuit novitiate at Los Gatos in 1960. After studies in philosophy and mathematics at Saint Louis University and theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, he was ordained a priest in Los Angeles on June 13, 1970. He subsequently earned a Ph.D. in spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
Fr. Pastizzo held academic positions in religious studies at Gonzaga University (1975-1981) where he also served as spiritual director to Jesuit seminarians; Gregorian University; the Rome Center of Loyola University Chicago; and Canisius College in Buffalo (1996-2017). For some years he taught and was spiritual director at the Jesuit novitiate in Santa Barbara, and he later served as senior priest at the relocated novitiate in Culver City. He moved to Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in 2019.
Fr. Pastizzo is survived by a brother, Emanuel Pastizzo of Fallbrook, California, and nephews, David Pastizzo of Portland, Oregon, and Frank Pastizzo of Sunnyvale, California. A funeral Mass will be held Friday, January 14, 2022, at 11:15 a.m. at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, in-person attendance will not be open to the public, but the funeral will be livestreamed. A committal service will follow at 1:30 p.m. at Santa Clara Mission Cemetery, to which family and friends are invited to attend.