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Father Brooks, who guided Holy Cross through major changes, dies at 88


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WORCESTER, Mass. (CNS) -- A Mass of Christian burial was scheduled for July 9 in St. Joseph Memorial Chapel at the College of the Holy Cross for Jesuit Father John E. Brooks, 88, the longest serving president of Holy Cross.

Father Brooks died July 2 at UMass Memorial Hospital -- University Campus in Worcester, after complications from lymphoma.

"Father Brooks embodied Christian charity by giving of himself for the good of his neighbor in body, mind and spirit. May God grant him eternal rest," said Worcester Bishop Robert J. McManus upon learning of his death.

During his tenure as the college's 29th president from 1970 to 1994, Father Brooks presided over a period of enormous change at Holy Cross. In addition to moving the college to coeducation and recruiting a significantly more diverse student body, he helped strengthen Holy Cross financially, energize the alumni network and build the college into one of the country's top liberal arts institutions.

At the time of his death, Father Brooks was actively working, serving as president emeritus and Loyola professor of the humanities in the religious studies department. He continued to teach a seminar in contemporary Christology, remained engaged in fundraising and the business of the college, and had close ties with legions of alumni.

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