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Fairfield Prep mourns the loss of the Rev. Charles Allen, S.J.

Below is an email sent by President Christian Cashman following the passing of the Rev. Charles Allen, S.J. Information regarding Fr. Allen's funeral Mass are listed at the bottom.

Dear Prep Community,

It is with great sadness that I write to share the news of the passing of the Rev. Charles H. Allen, S.J., beloved Jesuit and past Headmaster of Fairfield Prep. Fr. Allen passed away on Jan. 10 at the Campion Center in Weston, Mass., at the age of 81. Before his retirement in 2020, Fr. Allen was a legendary figure on campus, and a great contributor to the life and spirit of Fairfield Prep and the University community for over 40 years.  

A native of Boston, raised in Jamaica Plain, Mass., Fr. Allen’s Jesuit service began in 1959 at the age of 17, where his work took him across five continents to Mexico, Italy, Egypt, France, Spain, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, among many other countries. He was ordained in 1973, and four years later began serving as an administrator and teacher at Fairfield Prep.

Fr. Charlie Allen made an indelible mark on Fairfield Prep. Serving as an administrator beginning in 1977, and later as headmaster from 1985-1989, Fr. Allen built up the great Ignatian brotherhood with his signature humor and affection for all. He led Fairfield Prep with a flare and style that was unmatched in the school’s history. He was an early champion for women faculty and administrators, sending representation to the national Jesuit Schools Network (formerly JSEA). He was a champion of Prep’s SEED Diversity Program, securing funding for some of the first tuition grants for students in need, and he was a gifted, intelligent and articular homilist, known for his brevity and wit.

In his capacity as alumni chaplain at Fairfield University and Fairfield Prep, Fr. Allen officiated at hundreds of wedding ceremonies, baptisms, funerals and Masses. He also served as a spiritual mentor and friend to a host of non-profit and civic organizations throughout the Bridgeport and Fairfield area, notably in his role as chaplain to the Town of Fairfield’s Police and Fire Departments.

A retirement parade in honor of Fr. Allen that took place during the challenging spring of 2020, drew a cavalcade of nearly 600 carloads of well-wishers—friends, families, former students, town residents, and first responders—who traveled to our campus to thank him for his service over four decades, to the University, Prep, and the greater Fairfield and Bridgeport communities.

In 2021, Fr. Allen was honored by Fairfield University’s Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality with the Rev. James M. Bowler, S.J., Award for his lifetime of service exemplifying the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. On that special occasion, the Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, shared this reflection on Fr. Allen’s impact: “One of Fr. Allen’s greatest gifts is the ability to preach with clarity, simplicity and conviction. His ability to break open the Word of God and apply it to the challenges of modern life has inspired and enriched countless people in many parishes throughout the Diocese. His humor is unsurpassed, allowing him the unique ability to find humor in life and connect that in a deeply meaningful way to the joy of the Gospel.” 

Among recent honors bestowed upon Fr. Allen, in the fall of 2023, the new dining facility of the Thomas Merton Family Center, a program of Catholic Charities serving Bridgeport, Conn., was named the Father Charles H. Allen, S.J., Dining Hall.

Fr. Allen earned a bachelor's and a master's degree in philosophy from Boston College, and additional master's degrees from Gregorian in Rome, Italy (theology), Brown University (mathematics), and Columbia University (educational administration).

Father Allen remained a close advisor and friend to Prep for decades, and his legacy will live on for years to come here on North Benson. Please join me as we pray in thanksgiving for the remarkable life and Jesuit ministry of Reverend Charles H. Allen, S.J. A memorial Mass is being planned in Fairfield, Conn., and details will follow.

In peace and consolation,

Christian J. Cashman

Funeral Arrangements/Memorial Mass

A Memorial Mass for Fr. Allen will be celebrated on January 27 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Fairfield. A reception will immediately follow on campus at Fairfield University.

A private funeral Mass was celebrated On Jan. 17, 10 a.m.. at the Jesuit Campion Center in Massachusetts.

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