Jesuit Father Henry J. Zenorini passed away on May 15, 2015, at Murray-Weigel Hall in the Bronx, New York, less than one week after celebrating his 94th birthday with family and friends.
Fr. Zenorini was born on May 10, 1921, in West New York, New Jersey, the son of Henry and Maria (Cavedon) Zenorini. In 1939, he graduated from St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, New Jersey. In 1943, he graduated from the Lowell Textile Institute in Lowell, Massachusetts, with a bachelor’s degree in textile engineering and later that same year volunteered for the Army Air Corps. Because of a problem with depth perception, he could not be a pilot and went into communications. After the war, he returned to the textile industry and worked with Zenorini Brothers Yarn Mills, a factory in Union City, New Jersey, that was owned and operated by Fr. Zenorini’s father and uncles.
Recalling his interest in the priesthood from his years at St. Peter’s Prep, he responded to the call to priesthood and entered the Society of Jesus on Sept. 17, 1951, at the Jesuit novitiate of St. Andrew-on-Hudson in Poughkeepsie, New York. Following his novitiate and one year of studies, he began the study of philosophy at Weston College in Weston, Massachusetts (1954-57). He taught mathematics and speech at Fordham Prep for one year of regency (1957-58) and then advanced to study theology at Woodstock College in Woodstock, Maryland (1958-62). He was ordained to the priesthood on June 17, 1961, at the Fordham University Church. From 1963 to 1966, Fr. Zenorini resided at the Jesuit Community at Xavier High School in Manhattan and served as assistant director of the Catholic Medical Mission Board on 17th Street.
From the Xavier Jesuit Community, he moved to the Loyola Jesuit Community on East 83rd Street. For three years he was on the staff of the Jesuit Seminary and Mission Bureau (JSMB), and then for one year he was the director of the JSMB and the director of Jesuit Deferred Funds. In 1970, he returned to Xavier High School, where he would reside and work for 41 years, with the exception of a brief return to Regis High School (1975-77) as a student counselor. While at Xavier, he served as student counselor and as treasurer of the Jesuit community. He was given the Bene Merenti Award by Xavier for his years of dedicated service at the school. From 2000 to 2005, he also served as president and treasurer of the J. Homer Butler Foundation.
A Jesuit for 63 years and a priest for nearly 54 years, he was always a gentle, kind and supportive presence in the school and community. He was much admired, loved and appreciated by students, faculty and members of the Jesuit community. In 2013, already in his early 90s, he was assigned to Murray-Weigel Hall on the Fordham University campus in the Bronx. Even at his advanced age, he brought his warm and positive spirit to that community. He is survived by his three sisters, Elena McEntee, Marie Kinsey and Gloria Markey, as well as by many nieces and nephews.