The Deacon's Bench

My cyber-pal The Anchoress sent this astonishing obit my way and said “I’m convinced it’s the prayer and home grown food.” Whatever it is, it gave this 106-year-old monk a wonderful life:

Father Angelo, always in the company of the pipe that he smoked since he was 14, spent almost 60 years of productive and happy years in priestly service and ministry. When a confrere suggested that his pastoral assignment at St. Clement’s must have been his happiest years, he declared that “all my priestly years were happy.” Wherever he served, he was ardently loved.


All his life Father Angelo was an avid reader and story-teller. He loved to tinker with all kinds of gadgets. While in Duluth at St. Scholastica Monastery, he was happy to repair any damaged article that the sisters brought to him. His mind remained sharp until his death. He and the community proudly recognized that he was the first and only monk of our monastery to achieve the century mark. Father Angelo was a generalist, interested in everything, especially electronics, art, photography, theology, and languages. He was the living link with our earliest past since he had known and cared for Father Cornelius Wittmann OSB, the longest surviving member of the original five founding monks who came to Collegeville from Pennsylvania in 1856. A great part of our sesquicentennial history ends with him.

Check out the rest of his obituary for the details of Fr. Angelo’s life. He must have witnessed some amazing history.

As we near the feast of St. John Vianney (August 4), the patron of parish priests, men like Fr. Angelo are a reminder of what a beautiful blessing a life in the priesthood can be.

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