Diocesan News

Deceased priests remembered in diocesan archives

LINCOLN (SNR) - In the archives at the Catholic Chancery in Lincoln, there is a book that chronicles the service of all the deceased priests who served the diocese. This priestly necrology numbers nearly 625 faithful servants, some dating back to before the Diocese of Lincoln was founded in 1887.

The first priest logged in the book is Father Casimir Seitz, O.S.B.

Father Seitz was born in Pickach, Bavaria (a state in Germany) in 1829. As a young man, he immigrated to the United States, joining the Benedictine Order of Saint Vincent’s Abbey in Pennsylvania. He made his profession of vows just two days before his 27th birthday.

After journeying to the Benedictine Priory in Leavenworth, Kan., Brother Seitz became the first man to be ordained in the Vicariate of the Indian Territory. On April 16, 1857, he was ordained a priest by Bishop John Baptist Miége, S.J. At the time, Father Seitz’s proficiency in the language of the United States was still so basic, he could not give a sermon in English. With much study and practice, he prevailed.

Sometime around 1859, Father Seitz began taking trips from Kansas to Nebraska City to minister to the faithful laity who lived in that area. It was slow, difficult travel for most of the year, between the frostbiting gales and below-zero temperatures in winter and the searing heat and scorching winds of summer.

Perhaps due to these harsh conditions, Father Seitz’ health waned. He died in July 1867, just weeks before his 38th birthday.

The most recent entry in the diocesan priests’ necrology is Father Peter Gadient.

Born in Belle Creek, Minn., June 9, 1920, John Peter Gadient studied Classics at St. John Seminary in Collegeville, Minn. He continued to learn philosophy at Saint Paul Seminary, and then returned to Collegeville for one more year. He then moved to Little Rock, Ark., to study theology at Saint John Home Missions Seminary.

On October 18, 1945, Father Gadient was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Lincoln by Bishop Louis B. Kucera. For the next 52 years, Father Gadient served in parishes all over the diocese.

Father Gadient’s enthusiasm, joy and skills were not limited to parish work, however. He also served as moderator for the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (LDCCW), spiritual director for the Legion of Mary, spiritual director of the Nebraska State Court of the Catholic Order of Foresters, and confessor/spiritual director at St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward. Additionally, Father Gadient was a member of the diocesan building commission.

When he was 77 years old, Father Gadient retired from active ministry. However, he continued to serve the LDCCW for another decade and the Legion of Mary for another 13 years.

In 2011, health issues required Father Gadient’s admission to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. He died there June 6 of this year, just a few days before his 93rd birthday.

To learn more about the priest necrology or other historical information about the Diocese of Lincoln, you can tour the Sister Loretta Gosen Memorial Archives - Museum of the Diocese of Lincoln, currently managed by archivist Sister Patricia, M.S. Call (402) 488-0921 to make an appointment.

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