Fr. A. Gerard Fineran, a missionary in Brazil for 42 years, died Friday, Dec. 12, 2014 in Grand Coteau, La. He was 94 years old, a Jesuit for 77 years and a priest for 64 years.
A native of New Orleans, he entered the Society of Jesus in August 1937 at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau. He made first vows two years later and was ordained in 1950 in Louvain, Belgium, where he studied theology and earned a licentiate in sacred theology in 1951. He did his tertianship in Valencia, Spain and pronounced his final vows in 1954 in Rome.
As a young Jesuit in formation, he taught Latin at Jesuit High School in New Orleans. His facility for language – he spoke basic French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish – led him to many of his ministries.
He served in Rome as sub-secretary to the American assistant before returning to Grand Coteau for a year as minister of the community and teacher.
From 1960 to ’68, he was assistant to the provincial of the New Orleans Province. His term was very eventful: it included the opening and closing of the landmark Second Vatican Council as well as both sessions of the Thirty-First General Congregation of the Society and the election of Pedro Arrupe as superior general in 1965.
He also served as assistant to three other provincials, and to a vice provincial. He himself served as vice provincial while the provincial was away on business.
He headed pastoral works for the New Orleans Province and later served a short stint in pastoral work at a parish.
In 1970, he was able to pursue his strong desire for pastoral work when he responded to a call for missionaries to Brazil. He stayed for 42 years.
He returned to the States in 2012 because of ill health but wanted to return to his beloved Brazil. To the end, he maintained his trademark wry sense of humor and concern for his brother Jesuits. He was always ready to do what the Society asked of him.