It is with great sadness that we convey the passing of Professor Francis Gignac, S.J., of the Catholic University of America. Father Gignac was born in 1933, entered the Society of Jesus in 1950, and was ordained a priest in 1967. He earned his D. Phil. from Oxford University in 1964, writing on "The Language of the Post-Christian Greek Papyri.” He earned an S.T.L. from the Jesuit School of Theology in Chicago in 1968, writing "Semitic Interference in New Testament Greek."
After teaching briefly at Fordham University and Union Theological Seminary in New York, Father Gignac came to the Catholic University of America in 1974. He directed the Biblical Studies program for nearly forty years, from 1976 to 2012. He was the author of countless articles on Greek philology as well as the multi-volume Grammar of the Greek Papyri of the Roman and Byzantine Periods and An Introductory New Testament Greek Course. He served as chair of the Board of Editors for the New American Bible and was honored with a festschrift, Studies in the Greek Bible: Essays in Honor of Francis T. Gignac, S.J., edited by Jeremy Corley and Vincent Skemp, in 2008. He retired from Catholic University in 2013.
Father Gignac was an active runner and rower from his Oxford days well into his seventies. He was dedicated to issues of peace and justice and active in the Pax Christi movement. A tireless advocate for generations of graduate students, he established the Biblical Studies Area at CUA as the respected program it is today. He was greatly respected and will be missed by the students, faculty, and staff of the School of Theology and Religious Studies.
The funeral mass was held on Tuesday, June 20 at the Colombiere Jesuit Residence in Clarkston, Michigan. Letters of condolence may be sent to Rev. John Libens, S.J., Superior, Colombiere Conference and Retreat Center, 9075 Big Lake Rd., Clarkston, Michigan 48346. For a personal reflection of Rev. Gignac, see here. here.