In your prayers, please remember the soul of Fr. Enrico Raulli, S.J., a member of the Prep faculty since 1979. Fr. Raulli passed away Wednesday at Murray-Weigel Hall on the Fordham University campus, where he was recovering from a stroke he suffered last month. He was 83.
Fr. Raulli served as a guidance counselor and English teacher in his more than 35 years at Prep. He will be remembered by generations of students for his quick wit, his easygoing manner, and his seemingly limitless enthusiasm for helping them to explore the depths of their creativity as they developed as writers.
"I walked into Fr. Raulli's class as an angsty 17-year-old who had all these weird ideas to communicate," recalled Mr. Will Ryan, '11, a member of Prep's Alumni Service Corps. "I produced mediocre stuff, but he told me I could be great if I paid attention to detail and followed through." He taught his long-running Creative Writing elective (and moderated the Paper and Pen literary magazine, known in other eras as Inkscape or Literama) with a focus on sharpening the quality of the work, while allowing students nearly complete creative freedom. "Through that freedom, later on in college, I began to find my voice. If it wasn't for him, I don't know where I'd be."
In addition, his colleagues – who affectionately knew him as simply "Rico," – will remember an avid tennis player, a fervent opera lover, a valued spiritual adviser, a beloved friend, and a vibrant personality, so often the first on the dance floor at any social gathering of Prep's faculty and staff. "In so many ways," remarked one longtime colleague, "he was the consummate Jesuit."
After entering the Society of Jesus in 1952, Fr. Raulli's teaching career included stints at Brooklyn Prep (1959-62) and Canisius High School (1967-77) before he arrived at Grand & Warren.
In addressing the Class of 2001 at their graduation, Fr. Raulli summed up a special spirit or quality that had brought that class together over their years at Prep, something no doubt familiar to Prep men of other classes as well. "These experiences or high points," he said, "reminded me of a term used in sports when a team or player is at a high point. It's called being in the zone. The term refers to an athlete...who in a particular game is giving an extraordinary performance. He's playing head and shoulders above everyone, even above his own usual level of play...It's amost as if he's possessed by something larger than himself which lifts him and those around him to new heights."
As Prep bids farewell to "Rico," we give thanks for a life that lifted our community to new heights, a life lived, "in the zone."
A wake will be held on Friday, January 8, from 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. in Prep's Hammer Heritage Room
A funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, January 9, at 10:30 a.m. at Saint Aedan's Church, 800 Bergen Avenue in Jersey City (parking is available in the lot located at 41 Tuers Avenue)