Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

9/27/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As my life has progressed, I have learned that people of living faith die the way they lived.

As my life has progressed, I have learned that people of living faith die the way they lived. That is why I know that Bishop Ottenweller died with a smile on his face and the joy of the Lord in his heart. He genuinely loved the Lord and the Holy Catholic Church which he served so wel

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/27/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Bishop Albert Ottenweller, Fr Michael Scanlan, Fransiscan University of Steubenville, College of Steubenville, Servants of Christ the King, Weirton West Virginia, Charismatic Renewal, households, Holiness, holy bishops, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Covenant communities,


STEUBENVILLE, OH (Catholic Online) - I recently learned of the passing to the Lord of Bishop Albert Ottenweller, the former Bishop of Steubenville, Ohio. He was 96 years old. He was also a wonderful, holy, pastoral and joyful Bishop whose influence on my life during very important and formative years will always be deeply appreciated. I received a belated E mail to offer a comment to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. However, I missed the deadline due to a circuitous forwarding of the correspondence from California.  So, I decided to use Catholic Online to pay tribute to this good Bishop.

As my life has progressed, I have learned that people of living faith die the way they lived. That is why I know that Bishop Ottenweller died with a smile on his face and the joy of the Lord in his heart. He genuinely loved the Lord and the Holy Catholic Church which he served so well. He always had a kind word, a smile, a handshake with that huge right hand - or a hug - for everyone he cared about. He also had time for anyone who sought his pastoral counsel and assistance. No-one was turned away, including a much younger me.

I am a revert to the Catholic Church, having returned to the Catholic faith after my wandering teenage years spent searching for truth. My time in that wonderful City of Steubenville came after I followed another good and holy man, Fr Michael Scanlan, to the then College of Steubenville. I did so to complete my undergraduate degree and become a part of the Steubenville Miracle now known as the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Those were amazing years; filled with miracles, mistakes and so much learning. Through it all, Bishop Ottenweller was there to help, to heal and to guide me, at such very important times.

During those years I married my dear wife of now 36 years, Laurine, and we began to receive and raise the children the Lord gave us as gifts in that great City which became our home as a family. In fact, it still calls us some times - and we wonder if we might ever return. I completed my undergraduate work at the then College of Steubenville, in Philosophy and Theology.  During that time I helped in the amazing transformation the Lord brought to that campus under the leadership of Fr. Michael. I stayed there and completed Law School at the nearby University of Pittsburgh, commuting through Weirton, West Virginia and along Route 22 into Oakland everyday.

All the while, Laurine and I stayed in Steubenville to raise our children because it had become our home - and because we wanted to continue to be a part of the work of the Lord unfolding on that campus. We also loved the City and the good "salt of the earth" people who live there.  We knew the Lord was doing something wonderful there as well as at the College. My early Law Practice began in Steubenville and will I always treasure the memories.

I rolled in and out of several positions at what was by then the "University of Steubenville" and soon "Franciscan University of Steubenville" as a Dean and administrator. I continued to practice law and eventually began the legal work which would lead me to the next chapter of my career and away from the Ohio Valley. I began focusing on Pro-Life constitutional law defending the unborn, standing up for religious freedom, and defending marriage and the family and society founded upon it.  It's quite a story and just maybe, before I join my friend the Bishop, I should write it all down to encourage others that Jesus Christ really is alive and He guides all who trust in Him and walk by faith. 

During those years I spent in Steubenville Bishop Ottenweller became a friend, a mentor and an inspiration. I will always be grateful. He planted the seed of my own later life vocation as a Deacon in my heart by boldly asking me on several occasions if I had ever considered the call. Years later, after I moved to Virginia, I would respond to that call. It would be another Bishop who would impose his hands upon me at my ordination - but I believe that Bishop Ottenweller was deeply involved. 

I am grateful to him for having both the discernment and the courage to ask me to consider the call to Holy Orders. I have served as a Deacon of the Church which he and I both love for sixteen years now. I vividly remember thinking of him on my day of ordination as I received the Book of the Gospels and heard those words, "Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you now are. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach." Like every Bishop, Bishop Ottenweller had the fullness of Holy Orders. He was a Bishop, a priest - and, yes, he was still a deacon.

With Bishop Albert Ottenweller, that charism of imitating Christ the Servant was still so evident in his example. Prior to the Second Vatican Council, Bishops would still wear the Dalmatic, the vestment of the Deacon, underneath their priestly chasuble, as they prepared to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. That was meant  to symbolize both the special relationship they have with their deacons and their own call to be configured to Christ the Servant. Some Bishops still do, like Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington,DC. Whether Bishop Ottenweller actually did wear the dalmatic when he celebrated Holy Mass I do not know, but I do know that he wore it in his heart.

I am 57 years old now. My wife Laurine and I have raised five children and have six grandchildren. I have had the great joy of knowing and serving with many priests and deacons. I have also had the privilege of meeting and assisting several Bishops. However, few Bishops have extended to me the kind of warmth and friendship that Bishop Albert Ottenweller did. It came at such a critical time in my life's journey as a husband, young father and young man, seeking to follow the Lord and to deal with some extremely important lessons I needed to learn. He was there for me.

All these years later, after theological degrees at the graduate level and while still trying to complete a PhD dissertation in Moral Theology for the Catholic University of America - I often think of Bishop Albert Ottenweller. He was living theology, the kind you need to see before you can understand why the books and the classes are so important. I have placed a "You Tube Video" with this story. That young man is certainly not this writer, I am pushing 60 now! I do not even know him. However, it brings such joy to my heart to know that the story is repeating itself and both the Church and the world into which she is being sent is the beneficiary. Bishop Albert Ottenweller was an unsung hero in that story. 

Jesus told the disciples they were no longer servants but "friends" (John 15:15). Wow!  Friends with God. What a wonderful gift! Holy Bishops embody that gift in their carriage and their ministry of pastoral care, in imitation of Jesus the good Shepherd. Bishop Albert Ottenweller was one of them. He lived as a friend of Jesus and helped me to understand that I was a friend of Jesus too. May you rest in peace dear friend of the Lord, and my friend- I look forward to our eternal reunion in the joy of heaven where your smile will shine in the radiance of unending joy.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More U.S.

Who Are the Mother and Brothers of Jesus? We Are Watch

Image of The Father of Jesus becomes our Father also, as we enter, through Him, into the inner life of the Trinity. He underscores this truth right before He ascended when He instructed Mary of Magdala to tell the disciples

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In this exchange, Jesus opens up for those with eyes to see and ears to hear the deeper interior importance and meaning of the motherhood of Mary  and the interior meaning of all family relationships renewed by the Holy Spirit. He gives to those with ears to ... continue reading


Pope Francis names Bishop Blasť Cupich to replace ailing Chicago Archbishop Watch

Image of Ill from liver cancer, Cardinal George said at a news conference in Chicago that

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has chosen Spokane Bishop Blase Cupich as Chicago's new archbishop. The ailing Cardinal Francis George welcomed his pending retirement after his 17 years of service, with only the highest praise for his successor. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


World population could hit 11 billion by 2100 new study reveals Watch

Image of Africa will see the largest population boom, going from 1 billion to 4 billion by the century's end. Asia will also likely rise a bit, but will peak at 5 billion by 2050 and decline.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A United Nations-led analysis published on September 18 has revealed that the world's population may reach 11 billion by 2100, which would mean two billion more people than previously expected, largely due to high birth rates in Africa. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


As death toll passes 2,600 U.S. lawmakers worry about spread of Ebola Watch

Image of Red Cross workers in Guinea in protective gear. Currently, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are the worst nations worst hit by the West African Ebola outbreak.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Legislators in Washington are becoming increasingly concerned about the spread of Ebola and worry that it could become more contagious and potentially spread into the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - President Obama's new plan to put 3,000 U.S. ... continue reading


Obama gains support from House to further fight against ISIS Watch

Image of President Obama, with the support of the House of Representatives, may now start arming and training Syrian groups to fight the Islamic State, and will continue to strike targets in Iraq.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While President Barack Obama told Americans-in somewhat ambiguous terms-last week that he intended to destroy the Islamic State, as of September 17, he promised that the United States will not fight another ground war in Iraq. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Values Voters: What We Can Learn from Ted Cruz Being Booed at the In Defense of Christians Conference Watch

Image of Senator Ted Cruz from Texas was the keynote speaker at what was billed as a Gala Solidarity Dinner. Sadly, it certainly did not demonstrate solidarity between Christians. A small group in the assembly, rudely and loudly, reacted negatively to some of the words Senator Cruz spoke as he expressed his convictions concerning the persecution taking place in this land which is properly holy, precisely because of its role in God's loving plan of salvation for the whole human race.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The events of Wednesday, September 10, 2014, at the Inaugural In Defense of Christians Gala make abundantly clear that there is a serious and urgent need for values voters to meet and discuss the crisis in the Mideast and ways in which we can work together to ... continue reading


Our Age Need Rebels of Love: The Christian Church is the Real Counterculture Watch

Image of As a young man I rejected secularist, atheistic humanism - but not humanism itself. As I studied the early Church fathers I came to understand that the true humanism is authentic Christianity, the kind professed, in word and deed, by the early Christians. As I read early Church history I was brought back to the mother church of the entire Christian movement, the Catholic Church. I came to believe that she offers the theological anthropology, ecclesiology and world view of the early fathers of the Church. I also came to believe that she was the real counterculture.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

We can - we will - change the culture of the contemporary West, if we are willing to suffer, struggle and offer ourselves to the Lord for the task. His power, the power of the Holy Spirit, working through us, will accomplish what we can never accomplish on our ... continue reading


What is a Catholic Deacon? Bishop Kevin Rhoades Gives the Answer Watch

Image of The Most Reverend Kevin Rhoades, the Bishop of the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend, presiding over the Mass of Ordination to the Diaconate of six new Holy Cross Deacons

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

It is a privilege to ordain you permanent deacons.  No, I didn't make a mistake.  Don't worry: you are scheduled to be ordained priests next year by Bishop Jenky!  But what happens today in the sacrament of Orders is not something transitional; it ... continue reading


ISIS among us! New York man sought to kill Iraq war veterans Watch

Image of Mufid Elfgeeh, a 30-year-old, Yemeni born man who lived in New York, attempted to send three people to Iraq to fight for the Islamic State, and purchase firearms to kill veterans from the Iraq War.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Yemeni born food store owner in upstate New York sent funding to the Islamic State and attempted to sent three jihadists to Syria to fight alongside the terrorist cell while plotting to perpetrate attacks against American troops who had served in Iraq. LOS ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone: 16433 Children Buried in One Grave Watch

Image of Fr. Pavone prays at the graveside of the children

By Fr. Frank Pavone

For many years, this mass grave had no marker or headstone, just as the children have no names. But now there is a stone, and we are going to name the babies. Supporters of abortion do not want people to see mass graves in our midst. It's too disturbing a ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Proverbs 21:1-6, 10-13
1 Like flowing water is a king's heart in Yahweh's ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:1, 27, 30, 34, 35, 44
1 How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 8:19-21
19 His mother and his brothers came looking for him, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 23rd, 2014 Image

St. Padre Pio
September 23: Francesco, named in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, was born to ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter