A funeral Mass for Jesuit Father John Nissel, a Baltimore native who served as a missionary in Japan, was held Jan. 28 at St. Ignatius Church on the campus of Sophia University in Tokyo. A memorial service will be held March 21 at 10 a.m. at St. Agnes Church in Catonsville. Father Nissel died Jan. 25. He was 83.
A graduate of St. Agnes School in Catonsville and Loyola Blakefield in Towson, Father Nissel entered the Jesuit Novitiate in Wernersville, Pa., in 1943. From 1950-53, he studied Japanese in Taura, Yokosuka. He then returned to Woodstock College, located in Maryland, where he studied theology. He was ordained in 1956.
Father Nissel returned to Japan in 1959 and taught English for 32 years. During this time, he held various positions at Sophia University, where he served until his retirement in 1992. He continued to teach and minister after that.
Over the course of his life, Father Nissel returned several times to Baltimore to visit with his family. On these visits he assisted the priests of St. Agnes by celebrating Mass and on occasion cutting the lawn of the parish grounds. On June 25, 2006, Father Nissel celebrated his 50th jubilee at St. Agnes with a Mass and reception.
He is survived by his sister, Helen Nissel Degenhard, a parishioner of St. Agnes; his brother, retired Judge J .Thomas Nissel, and his wife, Irene, of Church of the Resurrection in Ellicott City; and many nieces and nephews.