Jesuit Father Martin I. Rock, longtime pastor of Jesuit parishes in Ogden, Utah and elsewhere, died on Oct. 9, 2017, at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, California. He was 89 and had been a member of the Society of Jesus for 72 years, 58 as a priest.
Fr. Rock was born in San Francisco, California, on Dec. 15, 1927, the son of Peter and Gertrude Rock. He graduated from Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, California and, along with his brother, Leo, entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Los Gatos on August 14, 1945. His training took him from Los Gatos to Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, for philosophical studies, and to Alma College, Los Gatos, for theological studies. He was ordained a priest in San Francisco on June 12, 1959.
His ministry was spent in three Jesuit high schools and in five parishes throughout the west. Prior to ordination, he taught English at Bellarmine Prep, San Jose, 1953-56, and later served as chaplain at Brophy College Prep, 1962-65, teacher of English at Jesuit High School, Sacramento, 1965-67, and religion teacher and counselor at Bellarmine, 1970-74.
Fr. Rock spent 32 years in Jesuit parish ministry in Sacramento, Phoenix, Santa Clara, and Ogden, as well as churches in Incline Village, Nevada, and Bagdad, Arizona. He was pastor of St. Clare’s Church, Santa Clara, 1974-84, and at St. Mary’s, Ogden, 1993-2010. At St. Mary’s, he oversaw the building of a new church complex. His parish years were also noted for the presence of a succession of his faithful beagle-mix dogs, all of which were named “Mike.”
He retired from parish ministry in 2010 and resided at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, with an extended assignment as chaplain at St. Joseph’s Health and Retirement Center, Ojai, California. His last years at Los Gatos were spent in a ministry of prayer, a familiar figure in the garden enjoying his pipe. Fr. Rock was predeceased by his six siblings.