Peter Gomes, Harvard Minister and Theologian, Dies at 68

Randall Stephens

This obituary for Peter Gomes appeared in the Boston Globe this morning. Gomes was a wonderful preacher and author. The sermons I heard him deliver at the Harvard Memorial Chapel were always as memorable as the were filled with meaning.

The Rev. Peter J. Gomes, who was known internationally as Harvard's pastor and was just as pleased to call himself a son of Plymouth, died Monday night at Massachusetts General Hospital. He had suffered a stroke in early December and his death was confirmed by a hospital spokeswoman.

He was 68 and had divided his time and identity between a 1799 house in his hometown and Sparks House, the 19th-century residence reserved for the leader of Memorial Church in Harvard Yard. . . .

Seamus Heaney, the Irish poet and Nobel Laureate, told The New Yorker that the Rev. Gomes's "style is full of cadence, roguery, and scampishness, which is redemptive. With Gomes there is always an element of masquerade as he tempts his audience into complicity."

The man who during four decades at Memorial Church would become known as the conscience and soul of Harvard, was the grandson of a Baptist preacher and was baptized a Catholic.


Anonymous said…
very sad news indeed. my heart and thoughts to all who knew him, and my gratefulness for all he did and taught.