Father James J. Wheeler, S.J., who focused his ministry on healing and counseling, died April 7 at Murray-Weigel Hall in the Bronx. He was 79.
After teaching at McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester, 1963-1965, he gravitated toward healing, counseling and recovery ministry. He organized and led Houses of Prayer and Healing in locations across the United States as well as in Mexico and Spain. He also developed and led two-year programs in spirituality and healing, which involved the formation and training of religious and lay leaders in that ministry. He founded and served as executive director of 13 St. Joseph Prayer Centers in New York and New Mexico during the 1970s.
He continued this ministry while in residence at Murray-Weigel Hall during the 1990s and was St. Joseph’s executive director emeritus after he returned to Murray-Weigel Hall in 2009.
Born in the Bronx, he entered the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1957 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1968. He held master’s degree in English and a licentiate degree in philosophy from Loyola Seminary, and a master’s in divinity from Woodstock College.
He is survived by a brother, Peter, and by his sisters, Mary Collaghan and Eileen Watson. A Funeral Mass was offered April 14 at the Fordham University Chapel. Burial was in the Jesuit Cemetery in Auriesville.