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Reverend Andrew J. Scopp

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READSBORO -- The Rev. Andrew J. Scopp, S.J., 70, pastor of St. Joachim’s Church in Readsboro, died unexpectedly on Sunday, July 6, 2003 at the North Adams Regional Hospital in North Adams, Mass.

He was born in Bridgeport, Conn. on Oct. 2, 1932, the eldest son of Andrew J. Scopp and Helen (Tammany) Scopp.

He attended schools in Bridgeport and Milford , Conn. He graduated from the Jesuit’s Fairfield Prep School with the class of 1950. He entered the Society of Jesus in Lenox, Mass.

Among other accomplishments during his four years of ascetical and classical studies there, he was selected for the prestigious role of delivering the annual Greek Oration. In 1954, he came to Weston College for philosophy studies and also began to study Arabic in preparation for missionary work in the Middle East. He completed his philosophy degree in 1957 and traveled to the New England Province Jesuits mission in Baghdad, Iraq to teach high school and do advanced work in Arabic.

In 1960, he returned to Weston College for theology studies and also to do graduate level work in Arabic at Harvard and Georgetown Universities. At the same time, he began the study of the Chaldean Liturgy in the Syriac language so that he would be able to celebrate public liturgical services in the churches of the Middle East.

After ordination to the priesthood and completion of theology studies in 1964, he did a year of advanced ascetical studies and pastoral work at Pomfret, Conn., followed in 1965 by a year of advanced studies in religious education in Brussels, Belgium.

In 1966, he returned to Baghdad to teach religion at the Jesuit High School there with its enrollment of 1,000 boys, half of whom were Christian. In 1968, there was a takeover of power in Iraq by the anti-foreigner Baathist Party and in 1969 the American Jesuits were expelled from the country along with other foreigners. Father Scopp then taught at the Jesuit school in Cairo, Egypt for the next three years.

In 1972, he returned to the U.S. to begin a second career in hospital chaplaincy. He began at the former Boston City Hospital where he served for five years and obtained certification as a General Health Chaplain.

In 1977, he transferred to Worcester State Hospital and began a specialization in mental health chaplaincy including a full year of intensive Clinical-Pastoral Education at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. and certification as a mental health chaplain.

In 1980, Father Scopp obtained a federal grant under the auspices of former President Jimmy Carter to conduct an experiment in providing post-mental health hospitalization liason services with religious communities and parishes of all faiths. As project coordinator, he traveled throughout New England and New York state conducting workshops in parishes and at local mental health clinics until the project ended in 1983.

He then served as General Chaplain at Bridgeport Hospital in Conn., while doing parish work in the Hispanic community of the city.

In 1984, he became Catholic Chaplain at Bangor Mental Health Institute in Maine until 1991, when he took on similar duties at Norwich, Conn. State Hospital.

From 1995 to 2000, he served as chaplain at a health care facility operated by the Little Sisters of the Poor in Enfield, Conn., while also serving as president of the Enfield Conference of Christian Churches. He worked at a local soup kitchen; directed retreats at a nearby retreat house; assisted at local parishes; led prayer groups;; and taught Scripture classes for the sisters, residents, and interested outsiders. From 2001 to 2002, he was Catholic chaplain at Medfield State Hospital in Medfield, Mass.

From 2002 until the time of his death, he was the beloved pastor and administrator at St. Joachim’s Church.

Father Scopp was a tall man, standing at six feet, five inches, but was of the gentle giant variety. He was one of those who believed that a dog is man’s best friend, and he showed it by keeping a dog as a companion in every situation where his living arrangements permitted.

Survivors include one Brother, Henry F. Scopp of West Haven, Conn.; a sister, Mary Scopp of New Haven; three nieces, one nephew, and six grandnieces and grandnephews.

He is also survived by his many Jesuit brothers of the New England Province.

Calling hours at St. Joachim’s Church on Tunnel Street. in Readsboro will take place Tuesday July 8, 2003 from 4 to 8 p.m. A wake service will be conducted at 7 p.m. by Father Edward Howard, SJ, pastor of St. John’s Church in North Bennington. A con-celebrated Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Wednesday July 9 at 11 a.m. at St. Joachim’s Church.

Calling hours will also be held on Thursday July 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 8 p.m. at the Jesuit Community at Campion Center in Weston, Mass. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Friday.

Interment will follow in the Jesuit cemetery at Campion. A Memorial Mass will be held on Saturday July 12 at 10 a.m. at St. Ann’s Church in Devon, Conn. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Campion Health Center, 319 Concord Road, Weston, MA 02493. Arrangements are by Flynn & Dagnoli-Montagna Home for Funerals,North Adams.
Published in Bennington Banner on July 8, 2003
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