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Clerical bead roll of the Diocese of Alton, Ill. online

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sought promotion. True to his God,

he was at all times equally true to
his Bishop and Confreres. Zeal and
devotedness characterized his long
pastorate. The parishioners clung to
him as children would to their father.
His dictum, was decisive, his words
conveyed authority. Keen, therefore,
was the pain and deep the wound
caused by his death which occurred
January 17, 1917. A great out-pouring
of sorrowing people on the day of
funeral attested the universal love
and esteem the departed enjoyed at
Newton and surroundings.

Father John Molitor was born at
Germantown, 111., Dec. 6, 1845 and
ordained to the priesthood March 25,
1874, by the late Bishop Baltes. His
was the distinction of being the first
native diocesan priest ordained for
the diocese of Alton. R. I. P.


"Sitivit in Te anima Mea".
Whilst his predecessor's tenure of
office lasted but from September, 1872
to May, 1873, Father Nagler served
St. Mary's parish of Alton likewise
but one year, from May, 1873 till
May 15, 1874, the date of his death.

Father Nagler was of frail body and
poor health, nearly always sick and
unable to perform his manifold duties,
although over-anxious to comply
with them. Dropsy caused his death.
He lies buried at Alton. May God
rest his soul.

(P. Longinus, O. S. B.)

"Karth and heaven tell of rest that shall not

cease ;

Where the cold world's farewell
Fades into endless peace".

In exchange for Rev. Theodore
Bruener, who on leaving St. Mary's
parish of Quincy, in 1874, had ac-
cepted the rectorship of the Pio Nono
Normal School of St. Francis, Wis.,
the Archbishop of Milwaukee permit-
ted Rev. Wm. Neu to come to our
diocese. He was appointed to Bun-
ker Hill in May, 1874. The new pas-
tor was a born pedagogue and his
best exertions were used in that di-
rection. This was evidenced by the
flourishing parochial school which at
once he opened. He also embellisher!
the church and reformed the choir ac-
cording to the Cecilian idea. In 1878
Rev. Wm Neu undertook the build-
ing of a small church at Gillispie

Page One Hundred and Ore

large enough to accommodate the
small congregation. To raise the
means sufficient and necessary to
carry out this plan, our gifted priest
delivered a series of lectures in
neighboring places. In 1879 Father
Neu returned to Wisconsin to relieve
Father Bruener of his duties at the
Normal. In 1889 our subject became
a Religious. He joined the Benedic-
tine Order at Atchison, Kansas, and
was henceforth known to the world
as P. Longinus, O. S. B.

As such he acted as assistant at the
Abbey church till 1891, was pastor
of St. Peter's church at Council Bluffs

Iowa, July, 1892-97. From January,
1898-'99, Father Longinus presided as
pastor over the Abbey church of At-
chison. On the 3d day of March,
1899, good Father Neu died at St.'
Vincent's Hospital, Birmingham, Ala-
bama, and was buried in the Abbey
cemetery at Atchison, March 7, 1899.
He was born at Bocholt, in the
Diocese of Muenster, July 23, 1846,
emigrated with his parents to Ameri-
ca in December, I860, and was or-
dained to the priesthood by Bishop
Henni of Milwaukee, at St. Francis
Seminary December 21, 1871. R. I. P.


"Labia mea laudabunt Te".

Practically the whole priestly
career of our subject was spent in the

southern part of the state, now the
Belleville Diocese, with the exception
of four months, when he acted as
pastor of St. Boniface congregation
of Edwardsville, and attended St.
Michael's parish of Staunton, which
was then affiliated to St. Boniface of

Rev. John Neuhaus was born Feb-
ruary 13, 1844, at Coesfeld in West-
falia; studied in his native city and
at Muenster and was ordained a priest
by the Auxiliary Bishop of Muenster,
Rt. Rev. John Bossman, on June 21,
1870. He became stationed at Red
Bud, October 29, 1870-A u g u s t 14.
1871; at Belle Prairie from August 15,
1871-March 17, 1875, and attended the
missions of McLeansboro, Mt. Ver-
non, Enfield, Carmi and Flora. At
Edwardsville from March 19, 1875-
July 6, 1875, after which he was
ordered to act as chaplain of the Sis-
ters of the Precious Blood of Ruma.
and attended from there Glasgow
City, now Renault. This young Sis-
terhood is greatly indebted to his pru-
dent management for its spiritual and
material advancement.

Father John Neuhaus died at
Ruma, February 22, 1905, and lies
buried in the parish cemetery. R. I

Page One Hundred and Tico


"Dust thou art, and 'into dust thou shalt
return". Gen. 3, 19.

In the fall of 1888 a talented and
promising young priest arrived in the
diocese from Germany. But shortly

previous thereto he had been ordained
to the priesthood at the American
College of Louvain, in Belgium. It
was Rev. Wimar Oberdoerster. Born
March 17th. 1860, at Lenhof near
Seelscheidt in the Archdiocese of
Cologne, he finished his classical stu-
dies in the schools of his native place,
whilst for the completion of the Sem-
inary course, Philosophy and Theo-
logy, he was directed to the American
College of Louvain, because of his
decision to spend his future priestly
life in the American missions. When
the time for ordination drew near, he
applied for admission into the Alton
diocese, where he was readily ac-
cepted. On June 24. 1888, the class of
young clerics to which Father Ober-
doerster belonged, was raised to the
priesthood. A few weeks later we ex-
tended a hearty welcome to the genial
young man, who was introduced to
us as the newly appointed assistant to
St. Paul's of Highland. During the
lengthy absence of the pastor. Rev.
Jos. Meckel. who in company with

the present Vicar-General of Belle-
ville had started that fall on a Euro-
pean journey which was to include
a trip to the Holy Land, the young
assistant was given charge of the
parish affairs until the return of the
pastor the next summer. How well
he carried out his responsible obliga-
tions is attested to by the fact that
immediately on the return of the pas-
tor to Highland the young man was
appointed to the parishes of Troy
and Black Jack. Here he performed
good work and won the love and
esteem of every one in a marked de-
gree. After several years of fruitful
labor the Ordinary saw fit to trans-
fer Father Oberdoerster to the pros-
pering young parish of Pierron, which
had been founded only a few years
before 'by the energetic Father Fut-
terer, whilst stationed at Grant Fork
and who had become its first pastor.
The Bishop at that time was in quest
of a talented and bright young priest
to send to the Catholic University at
Washington, to be the beneficiary of a
scholarship which had been founded
there for the Alton diocese. His
choice fell upon the pastor of Pierron.
Father Futterer. In consequence
Father Oberdoerster was transferred
from Troy and given the rectorship
of Pierron. Here he completed and
embellished what his predecessor had
to leave in rather unfinished condition,
church, house and cemetery. Hence
the Pierron parish under his prudent
management signally developed, both
materially and spiritually, it grew in
numbers and waxed strong, so that in
a few years it favorably compared
with the best rural congregations of
the diocese, thanks to the good men
who successively guided its destiny.

How often, however, does man ex-
perience the truth of Holy Writ:
"Meda vita in morte sumus," "in the
midst of life we are surrounded by

Father Oberdoerster had now been
a priest for upwards of nine years.
His light-heartedness and sunny dis-

Page One Hundred and Three

position, his enthusiastic endeavors
and continued good health were to
the average observer a guarantee of
many more years of precious useful-
ness in the Master's cause. The career
of our estimable friend of Pierron
augured so well. Sickness, however,
dreaded pneumonia overtook him and
ended the precious life and valued
services suddenly, on Friday, July 30,
1897, at a St. Louis hospital.

He was buried August 1, in the
Catholic cemetery of Pierron, fol-
lowed thither by a vast concourse of
people from, his own as well as neigh-
boring parishes and many of his de-
voted friends and admirers of the

"His race was run, his crown is won
The goal is reached in heaven,
He fought the fight, he kept the Faith
For which that crown is given".


"And leaving all behind,
Come forth alone,
To join the chosen band
Around the throne".

In an interesting historical souve-
nir-edition of St. Paul's parish of

Highland, issued September, 1896, the
author, Rev. Jos. Meckel, devotes a
brief chapter (page 94) on his worthy
and distinguished predecessor, Rev.
Charles Oberprantacher. By the
transfer of Rev. P. Peters to St.
Mary's, Alton, he was appointed to
succeed him as pastor of St. Paul's.
Prior to this he had been pastor of
the parish at Millstadt from August,
1866-August, 1868, where he suc-
ceeded in erecting a $4,000 school
house; from 1868-73, pastor at Free-
burg, and from Novemiber 73-August,
74 at Edwardsville. At the time when
this change of pastors was made,

Highland was not a desirable place for
any priest to covet. Repeated disturb-
ances which had occured under
Fathers Limacher, Bartels and Peters,
had given that congregation "a black
eye," each one of these able and effici-
ent men had left without regret. Father
O'berprantacher, says our historian,
was eminently a man of peace, a paci-
fist and with his coming an era of
peace seemed to have dawned upon
that fractious parish. The tomahawk
was buried and the future promised
bright. At once the new incumbent
proceeded to make some necessary re-
pairs and purchased two lots adjoining
the church property. New spiritual life-
began to awaken in the parishioners
and the schools soon flourished. All
this, however, was to be of but short
duration for within less than two
years Father Oberprantacher sent his
resignation as pastor of Highland
and asked the Bishop that he not only
be relieved of his charge but be per-
mitted to return to his native land,
mountainous, beautiful Tyrol. At the
end of May, 1876, he left Highland
and sailed for Europe, never to re-

Rev. Charles Oberprantacher was
born March 19. 1829, at Biffian in the
Tyrolean Alps. He was ordained at
Brixen, July 15, 1855, and came to
America in July, 1866. After his re-
turn to Europe he was assigned a
large parish in his native country. We
are not in position to state when
and where our former diocesan priest
died nor where he was buried. R.
I. P.

Page One Hundred and Four


''The sun shone bright again
When slowly up the highway
Came a long funeral train".

This popular priest, for more than
25 years pastor of St. Patrick's of
East St. Louis, was one of the most

prominent clergymen of the state. He
was born August 15, 1830, in Bluff,
County, Limerick, Ireland. At the age
of 1C 1 years he was brought to this

country by his parents, who settled
in Cincinnati, Ohio. He received his
education at Bardstown Seminar}',
Kentucky, and was finally graduated
from Mount St. Mary's, Cincinnati.
Raised to the priesthood in 1862,
Father O'Halloran held successively
the pastorate of Jacksonville, Bunker
Hill and Cairo, in each of the places
building a church. During his incum-
bency at Bunker Hill he erected also
St. Michael's church of Staunton in
1873, and greatly distinguished him-
self for his financial ability in church
matters and was made Vicar General
of the diocese. He built a parochial
residence and the convent at East St
Louis and moreover purchased the
present Mount Carmel cemetery for
$12,000. Furthermore Father O'Hal-
loran organized a building and loan
association that has built 72 homes
for its members. He died, greatly re-
gretted, December 29, 1898, and was
buried in Mt. Carmel cemetery of East
St. Louis. R. 1. P.


Beyond life's stormy seas of woe

There is a happy shore,
Where tears of sorrow never flow,

And trials are no more.

Rev. Francis Augustine O s t r o p
was born at Dorsten in Westfalia,
September 1, 1823. From his earliest
years he exhibited an ardent desire to
enter the holy ministry, but his
parents were too poor to enable him
to accomplish it For seven years he
worked as painter and cabinet maker.
At the age of twenty-one he began
the study of classics in his native
place, but a few months afterwards
removed to Coesfeld. Such was his
diligence and application to study
that in three years he made double
time and went through six classes. At
the same time, as a means of support.
he gave private lessons to less ad-
vanced students. After graduating he
repaired to Muenster, there to study
Philosophy and Theology. On leav-
ing Muenster he became for awhile
a tutor in the family of Count
Schmiesing-Kerstenbrock, whereupon

for two years he acted as teacher at
the Osnabrueck High school, giving
popular lectures on astronomy. After-
wards for five years he had charge of
the Ibbenbueren High school.

When, in 1857, Bishop Juncker went
to Westfalia to recruit subjects for
his diocese, Francis Ostrop offered
his services, which were gladly ac-
cepted. He reached Alton, November
11, was sent to the Carondelet Semin-
ary, of St. Louis, and ordained
May 1, 1858. His first appointment
was to St. Mary's church of Alton. He
found a two-story building, erected
the previous year by Rev. John
Menge, with the help of the eight
families constituting the congregaton
and serving for church, school and
rectory, with a debt of $3,OCO. On
Trinity Sunday, 1860, a tornado de-
stroyed the building, burying in its
ruins priest and housekeeper: both,
however, were safely extricated from
their perilous plight. He was anxious

II,,, Hundred and Fit

to build anew, but the debt, how-
ever, had first to be liquidated. Un-
able to find sufficient help at home he
obtained permission to seek it abroad.
He went, in turn, to Cincinnati, Cov-
ington, St. Louis, Quincy; Belleville,
and was thus enabled to begin the

building of the church, 110x50, with
steeple 100 feet high. He also built
a rectory which for a time was partly
used for a boys' school, the girls
attending the Ursuline Academy. In
1869 he built a High School at the
cost of $11,000.

In September, 1872, he was ap-
pointed pastor of St. Boniface parish
of Quincy. There he soon erected a
school, at the time one of the finest
parochial school buildings in the
West, purchased property and was
resolved on building a $100,000
church, which no doubt he would have
accomplished had not the debt of
$82,CCO alarmed the less sanguine
hopes of the Bishop and aroused op-
position- and protest from the mem-
bers. Hence his plan failed.

On September 1, 1887, he was trans-
ferred to Carlinville, there to become
the rector of St. Joseph's parish. The
congregation had but forty families
and the overhanging debt amounted

to $10,000. The condition of affairs
seemed desperate. The new rector
in no way dismayed, went to work
with all energy, started four associa-
tions, to take in all the members, the
receipts going to the benefit of the
church. He soon paid the whole debt,
built a becoming school for which he
purchased ground, bought a rectory
for $2,200 and put an addition 30x35
to the sanctuary at a cost of $4,000.
In 1891 his health was failing fast.
He, nevertheless, during the winter
1891-92 attended to his duties with
the occasional help of neighboring
priests. His condition continued to
grow worse. Father Ostrop realized
the nearness of the last summons and
duly prepared himself for the last
call. He piously died on June 26,
1892. His funeral was held June 30,
attended by the Bishop, forty priests
and a vast concourse of people.

Father Ostrop was a wonderful
man, an enthusiast about his work
and had the peculiar talent of spread-
ing the sacred fire around him. Plain
and simple in his way of living, he
was always very kind and hospitable.
In him the poor and afflicted found
a friend never failing, education a
warm champion, science an ardent de-

Have you ever observed that quad-
rangular glass enclosure on top of
St. Boniface school building? It was
Father Ostrop's observatory, where
he loved to spend many an hour dur-
ing clear, bright nights, with his large
adjustable telescope, studying the
constellations in the starry heavens

His voluminous library which filled
two large rooms, was probably one of
the choicest and most valuable in the
possession of any private individual.

What has become of that splendid
library with its many valuable books,
charts and manuscripts? Scattered
here, there, or everywhere. Some
were sold for a song, others given
away. Too bad, indeed, for such loss
to the diocese would seem well nigh

Page One Hundred and Six

Father Ostrop was loved and ad-
mired by all that knew him. Peace
to his noble soul. R. I. P.

P. S. For a detailed account of

the life of Father Ostrop, see his ex-
haustive biography written in 1894 by
Rev. B. Hartmann.


"Dirigatur, Domine, oratio mea
Sicut incensum in conspectu tuo".

To the inscrutable designs of Divine
Providence it seemed good to call
from hence on November 10. 1917, the

Rev. Adam J. Pennartz, pastor of St.
Michael's parish of Sigel, 111., dean of
the Effingham district and member of
the board of diocese examiners.

With his passing a prominent
priest and eminent man has passed
away, one who, as it were, towered
above his fellow-priests by a certain
air and semblance of superiority,
whose opinion and judgment in mat-
ters ecclesiastical and profane carried
weight and conviction, in whose com-
pany it was a pleasure to be. Of him
it was pertinently said at the obse-
quies: ''He was every inch a gentle-
man, every inch a priest." To his
parishioners Father Pennartz proved
at all times a wise and prudent coun-
sellor, a true father and friend. In
the performance of sacred functions
no one was more exact and conscien-

tious than he. Great were the results
he achieved during the 44 years of
ministry. The various parishes over
which he was placed to preside give
eloquent testimony of his unflagging
zeal and devotion to his holy calling,
Arcola, Paris, Ste Marie, particularly
however, Assumption (1881-'88) with
Taylorville as mission where he con-
structed the present church edifice, and
Springfield (1888-'96.) Here St. Peter
and Paul's substantial parochial school
building stands a lasting monument
to his earnest advocacy of things
educational. The splendid condition
of St. Michael's congregation of Sigel,
both spiritual and material, is pre-
eminently due to the efforts of its now
fallen leader.

The joyous strains of the Golden
Jubilee celebration of his beloved
Sigel parish were still vibrating on
the air when the heralds of the ap-
proaching pale messenger announced
themselves to him under the guise of
vehement heart-attacks which medi-
cal authority atonce declared serious
with probably early fatal ending. The
prediction proved, alas, too true, for
death claimed the good, valiant man
scarcely a week later at St. Anthony's
Hospital of Effingham whither the
suffering patient had been brought
for treatment and rest. When on the
evening of November 10, towards mid-
night the nursing Sister approached
the patient's bedside to administer a
cordial, good Father Pennartz had
peacefully slumbered away.

Our departed was born July 7,
1850 at Trevern in the Archdiocese of
Cologne, studied at the American Col-
lege of Louvain and was ordained a
priest at Brussels in Belgium July 27,
1873, coming to this country and the
Alton Diocese in October of that
same year. May heaven be his reward!

Page One Hundred and Set-en


"How peaceful and how powerful is the
grave ! ' '

We turn our spirit-gaze to the con-
secrated little mound in Alton's Cath-

olic cemetery, beneath which lie en-
tombed the ashes of Rev. Peter
Peters, one of the diocese's illustrious
dead. Born in the town of Keppelen
in Rhenish Province, near the border
of Holland, on April 15, 1833, he
pursued a course in classics in his
home town, thereupon entering the
Academy of Emmerich for the study
of Philosophy and Theology. After
two years of close application to his
studies in the Academy the young
aspirant emigrated to the United
States, landing at Alton in 1859.
Shortly after his arrival, at the solici-
tation of Bishop Juncker, who had
been consecrated first Bishop of the
Alton diocese but a short time previ-
ously, he embarked for Cape Girar-
deau, Mo., and completed his theo-
logical course in the Seminary of that
place. On April 21, 1861, the ambiti-
ous young cleric was ordained to the
Priesthood by Bishop Juncker, cele-
brated his first Holy Mass at SS.
Peter and Paul's church of Spring-
field, where Father John Janssen,
afterwards Bishop of Belleville, a
countryman of his. was pastor.

Page One Hundred and Eight

Father Peter's first appointment was
to St. Mary's of Edwardsville. After
two years service at Edwardsville,
during which time he erected a sub-
stantial residence and started a paro-
chial school, Bishop Juncker sent him
to Highland, that there in the roll of
peacemaker he might succeed in con-
ciliating opposing and warring fac-
tions which until then had caused the
lives of resident pastors to become
miserable. His transfer to Highland
was in 1863 and lasted eleven years
till 1874. During all these years he
ministered faithfully not only to the
spiritual needs of his Highland people
but likewise to those of the neighbor-
ing St. Elizabeth's parish of Marine.
At this latter place he was instru-
mental in having a parochial residence
built. He labored most zealously for
the good of his congregation, yet
periodical squabbles were want to
turn up, for the fighting spirit and
antagonism to priestly authority was
peculiar to the Highlanders. Father
Peter's firmness of character, how-
ever, together with his model priestly
bearing, gradually subdued the bel-
ligerence of the malcontents; it almost
disappeared under the suave and leni-
ent rule of his successor, Rev. Father
Joseph Meckel, who was appointed
pastor of St. Paul's of Highland,
while our Father Peters was trans-
ferred to St. Mary's of Alton, which
parish had become vacant by the
transfer of Rev. Francis Ostrop to
St. Boniface of Quincy, 111. Rev.
August Schlegel (the sledgehammer
priest) muzzled the rest of the kickers
when he became their pastor. Today
Highland again ranks with the fore-
most parishes of the diocese, its can-
tankerous spirit is subdued, the paro-
chial prize-fighters are either dead or
gone. Father Peters took charge of
St. Mary's of Alton in 1874. He was
a man who for all time left a lasting
impress upon affairs ecclesiastical of
Alton. Soon after coming to his new
parish the zealous priest worked with
might and main to further the status
of St. Mary's parochial school then
as now under the efficient manage-

ment of the Xotre Dame Sisters.
With the combined efforts of priest
and teachers, great results were ob-
tained so that today St. Mary's school
ranks with the best in that city.
Father Peters, moreover, was a man
of distinct business qualifications.
Prudence and sagacity advised the
purchase of adjoining property; thus
it was that in a quiet and undemon-
strative way lot after lot and house
after house passed into the ownership
of St. Mary's, so that before long the
parish commanded the whole block.
And he it was who rested not until
the present splendid $60,CCO church
was erected, a monument which for
all time will continue to proclaim the
untiring zest and zeal of Rev. Peter
Peters. And when the day of its
consecration came, the climax of hap-
piness and joy to the then aging man,
his countenance was beaming with
happy contentment, it seemed that he
had no more desire or need of any
new measure to be filled. The con-
secrating Bishops on this occasion
were the Right Revs. James Ryan of
Alton and John Janssen of Belle-
ville, whilst the pastor, Father Peters,
sang the Solemn Mass at which the
Very Rev. Michael Richard O. F. M.,

delivered a grand and powerful ser-
mon. Father Peters took delight in
showing the occasioned caller his
newly-purchased additional property.
He would don an old overcoat over
his cassock, be it winter or summer,

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Online LibraryAnthony ZurbonsenClerical bead roll of the Diocese of Alton, Ill. → online text (page 13 of 19)