Rev. Alfred E. Cutajar, 70, pastor, assistant chaplain at Good Samaritan

May 08, 2004|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

The Rev. Alfred E. Cutajar, a Jesuit priest who had held chaplain posts at Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore and Sacred Heart Hospital in Cumberland, died Wednesday at Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, Pa., of complications from diabetes. He was 70.

Father Cutajar was born and raised in Hamrun, Malta, and graduated from Hamrun Lyceum in 1952.

He attended St. Julian Teacher Training College in Malta before entering the Society of Jesus in 1962. After completing his philosophy studies in 1966 at the Jesuits' Heythrop College in England, he went to the old Woodstock College in Maryland, where he continued his theological studies and earned a master's degree in divinity.

He was ordained in 1969 and completed additional theological studies at Jesuit House in Auriesville, N.Y. He joined the order's Maryland Province in 1972.

Father Cutajar was associate pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic church in Baynesville from 1971 to 1988.

"Many Jesuits go into teaching, but he wanted to go into parish work," said the Rev. William P. Foley, pastor of the Roman Catholic Church of the Annunciation in Rosedale.

"He worked with the elderly, sick and dying. He instituted a program for the mentally challenged and another program that welcomed immigrants, many of whom were from Asia. These were people who literally had nothing more than the shirts on their backs. He helped them set up an apartment and learn English. He got them jobs and helped them get started."

After taking a sabbatical at Regis College in Toronto, Father Cutajar returned to Baltimore and became assistant chaplain at Good Samaritan Hospital. In 1992, he was appointed chaplain at Sacred Heart Hospital. He worked there until he resigned in 1999 because of failing health.

Father Cutajar, who became an American citizen more than 25 years ago, retained a keen interest in current events.

"He always enjoyed engaging in a good round of conversation that discussed world problems," Father Foley said.

"He also took an interest in his country's problems, but he never took himself or the church too seriously. He saw that the church had to make changes for the good of the people, and he wasn't afraid to speak out. If he has a legacy, it's his extraordinary compassion for people."

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Monday at Immaculate Heart of Mary, 8501 Loch Raven Blvd. in Baynesville.

Father Cutajar is survived by a brother, John Cutajar of Granada Hills, Calif.; and a sister, Mary Cutajar Callega of Hamrun.

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