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Remembering Fr. Bernard Filmyer, SJ, Navy chaplain, pastoral minister and TV director

Rev. Bernard G. Filmyer, SJ, was born in Philadelphia, Pa. on October 23, 1920. He graduated from St. Joseph’s High School in Philadelphia and entered the Society of Jesus at the Novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues in Wernersville, Pa. in 1939. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Al., and a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from Woodstock College, Maryland. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 22, 1952.

As a Jesuit scholastic, Fr. Filmyer taught Biology at Loyola College in Maryland, Scranton Prep, and was the assisting curator of the biology laboratory at Georgetown University. Following ordination, he served as the prefect of discipline at Loyola High School in Baltimore. He then spent two years as the chaplain at Berks County prison in Pennsylvania.

Following a short assignment as a minister at his high school alma mater, St. Joseph’s Prep, Fr. Filmyer entered the United States Navy in 1961 as a chaplain. He would remain for more than 15 years, including time spent in the Vietnam War, saying Mass and providing spiritual direction for our troops.

In 1978, Fr. Filmyer went back to school and received his Master’s in Communications from San Diego State University. He then spent the next 13 years, from 1980 through 1993, as a television director for the San Diego Ecumenical Conference and an auxiliary chaplain at Camp Pendleton. He then served as a chaplain for the Carmelite Nuns in San Diego for 18 years.

In 2011, Fr. Filmyer returned to the East Coast to live at the Columbiere Jesuit Community in Baltimore, praying for the Church and the Society of Jesus. He died on October 30, 2016 at the age of 96.





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JESUITS Magazine: Winter 2020

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