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
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
9/27/2012 (3 years 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.
By Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life
Amoris Laetitia is a timely and loving exhortation for families towards genuine charity that begins within the nuclear family. It can be described as a new road-map for a culture that has taken a sad and tragic detour. The Joy of Love recognizes women's ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
Father, raise up women like Catherine of Siena for this new missionary age of your Church. Women who are so in love with you, and so conformed to the Image of your Son, they can do for your Church in this hour, what she did in her own. Saints are a gift for the ... continue reading
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Andrew Cash practiced his religious rights at Missouri State University - and was dismissed from the master's program in counseling as a result. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the Catholic News Agency, Cash was referring same-sex couples to another ... continue reading
By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Does the news seem a little too pro-American to you? Does it seem reporters pull punches and that the real issues are ignored? Perhaps that's the result of a quiet change to the law that took place in 2013. A law banning the use of government propaganda on the American ... continue reading
By Matt Hadro (CNA)
Experts from across the political spectrum are calling for criminal justice reform, as a new White House report shows the human and economic costs of the current justice system. Washington D.C. (CNA) - "This is a singular moment in one of the most challenging issues ... continue reading
By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
An appalling portrayal of Jesus plastered to a dartboard was posted up as artwork inside the Art Library at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The "art piece," titled "Vitruvian Man," shows Jesus nailed to the dartboard ... continue reading
By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
The American people are seemingly obsessed with public restrooms these days and precisely how people use the potty. The fear is being stoked by concerns that individuals who "self-identify" as the opposite sex, will take advantage of liberal policies and assault ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
Jesus said to his disciples: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. CHESAPEAKE, VA. ... continue reading
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
U.S. President Barack Obama announced 250 more special operations forces are to be deployed to Syria within the next few weeks. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Obama stated: "Just as I approved additional support for Iraqi forces against ISIL, I've decided to ... continue reading
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Pike County, Ohio saw eight murders on Friday with the youngest victim described as 16-years-old and the oldest at 44. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released a statement on Sunday during a news conference to mention marijuana ... continue reading