CANADA-UNITED STATESFr. David Power, OMI: 1932-2014
On 19 June 2014, the Oblates and the Church said farewell to a man who was considered by many as one of the foremost sacramental theologians in North America. Fr. David POWER died in Washington, D.C., USA, where he lived for many years.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1932, he was Professor Emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, where he taught from 1977 to 2000. Prior to that, he taught at the Oblate scholasticate in Piltown, Ireland, from 1957 to 1971, as well as at the Milltown Institute of Philosophy and Theology, Dublin, and at Maynooth Major Seminary. During those years, he served as superior of the Oblate scholasticate; after that, he was also superior of the International Scholasticate in Rome. While in the Eternal City, he taught at the Gregorian University and St Thomas Aquinas University.
The author of many theological books and articles, he was also a visiting professor in several theology faculties, many of them Oblate: St. Paul University, Ottawa, Canada; Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio (USA); St John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota (USA); St. Joseph’s Theological Institute in Cedara, South Africa, and at the seminary of the Archdiocese of Papeete, Tahiti (French Polynesia). Twice he was visiting lecturer at the East Asian Pastoral Institute in Manila, Philippines. He has also lectured in Australia, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. His final assignment as “missionary professor” was in Lusaka, Zambia, where he was also on the formation staff at the prenovitiate. He preached many Oblate retreats in such places as Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the Philippines, the United States, Japan, Southern Africa, and the Anglo-Irish province.
The third oldest Oblate joined the elite “club” of those who have celebrated their 100th birthday. On 18 May 2014, Fr. Valentine FIX received his official membership. He joined the Dean of the Congregation, Fr. Engelbert MACHINIA (Central European Province, born in October 1913) and Fr. Léo-Paul PIGEON (Notre-Dame-du-Cap Province, born in March 1914).
He served as a professor at the scholasticate in Battleford from 1940-47. He then served as pastor of several rural parishes that were served by the Oblates of St. Mary’s Province. He always had a very strong sense of duty and strove to be faithful to the Church and to his ministry as pastor. He could always be counted on to be clear and directive with the people with whom he worked. In 1983, he began his semi-retirement in Penticton, BC, providing some replacement ministry in the Nelson diocese. In September 2011, he moved back to Saskatoon. He now resides at Central Haven Care Home in Saskatoon, SK.
Fr. Boniface WITTENBRINK has turned 100 on 30 June 2014 in Belleville, Illinois. Among his many achievements, in 1973, he founded WMRY Radio Information Service, a broadcast service for the blind and print-impaired. The service is located at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.
When he was asked to start the service, he said, “I don’t know anything about radios except how to turn one on, and I sure don’t know anything about blind people except they can’t see.” Then, in typical Fr. Boni fashion, he said, “But if you think I can help, I’ll do it.” So, without prior experience in management or broadcasting, he learned -- both about radio technology and the visually impaired who would benefit from his ministry. The radio station he created, now named Minds Eye Information Service, has benefited thousands of blind and print disabled people throughout the greater St. Louis-Belleville metropolitan area.
Over the years, he has received many awards for his work in raising public awareness about various diseases of the eyes and the needs of blind and sight-impaired persons. Before he began his radio ministry, he taught in Oblate juniorates and in retreat houses. He himself is now nearly blind, having only a little vision in one eye.