Xavier Magazine

Further Reflections on Father Hoff

“I consider myself privileged to have made Father Hoff’s acquaintance and to have actually spent some time with him in one-on-one conversations. His decency, integrity and humility just jumped right out at you and he had a way of making you feel welcome and special with the way he looked right into your eyes when he engaged you and smiled “that smile”. If my memory serves me properly, I think that I first actually made his acquaintance at the “closing ceremonies” for Marion Hall. Father Hoff’s presence at the Hall that weekend—and the words that he spoke to all of us as a group and individually—helped to salve the pain that many of the loyal “Marion” men (myself included) were feeling by the closing of the Hall and the events that led to the closing. I had a number of subsequent meetings with Father Hoff, including my overnight visits to the Xavier Jesuit residence in April of 2003 and April of 2004. I was made aware by you of his illness at the time of my last trip, but when I looked at him and spoke with him I certainly did not get the impression that he was to be leaving us so soon. His words and his body language certainly conveyed peace, tranquility and (despite the fact that he certainly had to know what was coming) joy. Such were his gifts to all of us. Despite our professions of faith, it’s hard say “goodbye” to such a guy without a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye. As Roman Catholics, we are taught to believe in the Resurrection and life everlasting, yet “faith” is an elusive thing. Sometimes we “hedge our bets” and find ourselves settling for hoping that what we profess to believe is true. It’s part of our humanity. I don’t doubt that Father Hoff had a few of those moments, but he sure didn’t act like he had too many of them. For what it’s worth, I believe that his faith has been rewarded. Rest in peace, Father Hoff, and may perpetual light shine upon you  . . . and keep smiling down on the rest of us, please.” —Larry Sheehe

“I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease at the end of my junior year at Xavier. My grades had fallen that year and I was in jeopardy of losing my scholarship. Fr. Hoff met with me, never once asking me anything about school.  He only wanted to know how I was feeling and dealing with my illness.  At the end, he said ‘don’t worry about your scholarship.’ It is hard to describe what he did for me that day. It was more than alleviating the stress of possibly losing financial aid. His kindness and compassion really touched me and meant more to me than he’ll ever know. I only hope that I can be as much of an influence in someone’s life as he was in mine. I will always be grateful to him.” —Maggie Banker Taul

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