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In Memoriam

Fr. Balázs Jaschkó died peacefully in the Lord on November 5 at Rene Goupil House. He was in his 102nd year and in the 83rd year of his Jesuit life.

Blaise was born on 3 February, 1922, in Kassa, as the ninth child. Two of his brothers also became Jesuits, and one of his sisters joined the Society of the Sacred Heart. His father was Lutheran, but in the 36th year of marriage, after a Jesuit retreat, he became a Catholic and was a daily communicant.

From 1930 to 1940 Blaise attended school in that city, which at that time belonged to Czechoslovakia, but in 1938 Kassa was returned to Hungary. Blaise first planned in 1937 to enter the Slovak Jesuit Province but he was told to finish high school. He entered the Society at Budapest on September 2nd, 1940. Juniorate followed in 1942 and in 1943 he did first year philosophy in Kassa. A year later Germany occupied the city, then came the Russians, and Kassa came again under Chechslovakian rule. During the summer the Jesuit students did their philosophy with the Slovak Jesuits. In 1945, Blaise completed two years of philosophy with the Czech Jesuits. Because of travel restrictions, regency was not possible.

Blaise then went to Szeged, Hungary and in 1948 he began first year of theology, but was not able to continue, because the rector encouraged the theologians to escape to the West, which he did in 1949, landing in Austria. Together with other scholastics, they finished their first year at Innsbruck and completed the next two years at Chieri, Italy. He obtained a licentiate in theology in 1952, and was ordained priest in Chieri by the Cardinal-Archbishop of Torino. In 1952 Blaise made his tertianship at St. Beuno’s in Wales.

In 1953 Blaise was missioned to Hamilton, Ontario to be an assistant priest at St. Elizabeth Parish and secretary to the vice-Provincial. In1955 he edited the Hungarian Sacred Heart Messenger. A big change came in 1956 when he was sent to St. Peter Preparatory School, Jersey City, N.J., to teach Religion, Latin and French. He was also a champion in back-stroke swimming, so he also directed the swimmers. For five summers he went to Laval University to obtain an M.A. degree in the French language.

In 1970 Blaise left America to become co-pastor at St. Elizabeth Parish in Toronto; he was promoted to pastor serving from 1970 to 2000. He initiated in 1984 the transfer of the parish to Willowdale, and the building of the new church. Between 1971-1978 he was the Superior of the Hungarian Jesuits in Canada, and then from 1990-2003 the regional Superior of the Hungarian Jesuits in North America. In 1986 during a sabbatical semester, Blaise took a course in scripture in Jerusalem, then visited Calcutta meeting with Mother Teresa, and visiting the Hungarian missionaries in the Far East. In 2000, he visited his brother István in Taiwan on his 90th birthday, where Fr. István founded two homes for the care of handicapped children. In 2003, Blaise was re-appointed superior of the Hungarian Jesuits in Canada. His public ministry ended in 2015 when he moved to Rene Goupil House in Pickering.

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