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Joseph Fessio

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Subject: Ignatius Press, Ave Maria University, Saint Joseph Academy (San Marcos, California), The Quest for Shakespeare
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Joseph Fessio

Joseph Fessio, (born January 10, 1941) is a Catholic priest of the Jesuit order and the founder and editor of Ignatius Press. He was the founding provost of Ave Maria University until March 2007.


Joseph Fessio attended high school at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, California, from 1954 to 1958. Before entering the Jesuit novitiate in 1961, he completed undergraduate studies in Civil Engineering at the University of Santa Clara, California. He entered the novitiate on September 7, 1961. Before his ordination to the priesthood, he earned a B.A (in 1966) and an M.A. (in 1967) in Philosophy from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. He was ordained on June 10, 1972. By that time, he had also earned an M.A in Theology from his studies in Lyon, France.

In 1975, he earned his doctorate in Theology from the University of Regensburg, West Germany. His thesis director was Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI. The subject of his thesis was "The Ecclesiology of Hans Urs von Balthasar".

Teaching and administrative experience

  • 1966 - 1967 Taught Philosophy at Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington
  • 1967 - 1969 Taught Philosophy at University of Santa Clara, California. Co-founder Director of Project 50.
  • 1974 - Taught Systematic and Spiritual Theology, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California
  • 1976 - Founded the St. Ignatius Institute, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California
  • 1978 - Founder and Editor, Ignatius Press
  • 1979 - Director, Religious Books on Tape, Audio Division of Ignatius Press
  • 1987 - Fired from his position as Director, St. Ignatius Institute, the University of San Francisco, by Father President, John LoSchiavo, S.J., in a dispute over management of a $1,000,000 donation.[1]
  • 1987 - Peritus at Seventh Ordinary General Assembly of Bishops, at the Vatican, and delivers paper arguing that girls and women be excluded from the offices of Altar Server and Lector at Mass in the Catholic Church[2]
  • 1988 - 1991 Editor, 30 Days, In the Church and the World
  • 1991 - Publisher, The Catholic World Report
  • 1995 - Publisher, Catholic Dossier, Catholic Faith, Homiletic & Pastoral Review
  • 1995 - Co-Founder, Adoremus: Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy
  • 1998 - Founded the Catholic Radio Network
  • 2002 - Founded Campion College of San Francisco and 'exiled' from San Francisco by Jesuit Order, although retains leadership of Ignatius Press [3]
  • 2002 - Chancellor, later provost, Ave Maria University
  • 2007 - Fired from his position as provost of Ave Maria University. The reason given publicly was "irreconcilable differences over administrative policies and practices". He was reinstated as a theologian in residence the next day and remained an ardent supporter of the university.[4]
  • 2009 - Fired from his faculty position at Ave Maria University after expressing concern regarding the university's financial situation, which was taken as criticism of the administration's policies.[5]


External links

  • Ave Maria University
  • Ignatius Press
  • Video: Father Fessio on the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum
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