Columban Fr David Padrnos RIP

Fr David Padrnos

7 September 1944 – 18 August 2017

The son of Joseph E. and Rosalie (Bueltel) Padrnos, Father Dave grew up in Holy Name Parish in Omaha, Nebraska, USA. He had two sisters, Teresa (who preceded him in death) and Sally, as well as a brother, Wayne.

Father Dave studied at Holy Name Grade School and Cathedral High School, Omaha, before going on to St Columban’s College and Seminary, Milton, Massachusetts, and St Columbans College and Seminary, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. He did his Spiritual Year at St. Columbans, Bristol, Rhode Island. His theology studies were at St John’s Seminary Brighton, Massachusetts, (while residing at St Columbans, Milton, MA.). He was ordained at St Cecilia Cathedral, Omaha, on 28 May 1971 by Archbishop Daniel Sheehan.

St Cecilia Cathedral, Omaha [Wikipedia]

The young priest arrived in Japan in September 1971 and resided at the central house in Roppongi, Tokyo, during the twenty-two month period in which he was engaged in full-time language studies.

From July 1973 to February 1980 Father Dave was assistant pastor at St Patrick’;s Catholic church in Toshima, Tokyo, while engaging also in studies for a master’s degree in Comparative Cultures at Sophia University in Tokyo.

From 1978 to 1979 he was editor of the Region of Japan Newsletter. From 1978 he also began serving as Regional Education Officer. In September 1980 he set up an Education Office in the central house in Tokyo, where he began working on various education projects. Among these were building a library of books on theology, spirituality, counseling, as well as on Japanese life and culture. He also worked alongside Fr Jose de Vera SJ of Sophia University and Fr Augustinus Takehiro Kunii CP  on a series of videos about the Eucharist.

St Teresa of the Child Jesus Church, Sawara [Source]

In February 1981 Fr Padrnos was appointed pastor of the Catholic Church in the city of Sawara in Chiba prefecture. However, he continued his work as Education Officer. In 1983 he combined these two responsibilities with that of supervisor for Columban seminarians who had come to Japan on an overseas training program (OTP), with membership of the editorial staff of the Japan Missionary Bulletin and working as an assistant to the Scheut Fathers (CICM) who were engaged in a recording project.

Back in the US, from September 1987 until May 1989, Father Dave did a master’s program in spiritual direction at Loyola University in Chicago. (In 1988 he was one of the moderators at the Chapter in Pusan, South Korea.) Then in 1989 he became the US Regional Coordinator for Retirement, working alongside the late Fr Ernest Sullivan. In that role he visited members of the Region to discuss with them their experience of aging as well as their retirement needs. From March 1990 he continued with these responsibilities, while assisting also with the Columban vocation apostolate.

Fujisawa [Wikipedia]

In August 1991 Fr Padrnos returned to Japan and was appointed assistant pastor of the Catholic church in Fujisawa city, Kanagawa prefecture. One year later he became the acting pastor of that community.

From 1993 to 1995 he was back in Chicago, studying at Chicago Theological Seminary where he obtained a Doctor of Ministry degree in pastoral psychotherapy. After graduation he returned to Japan where he was appointed pastor of St Joseph’s Catholic church in Goi city, Chiba prefecture. He served in that position from 1995 until 2003. He combined this role with that of supervisor for both Columban lay missionaries, as well as seminarians engaged in OTP.

St Joseph the Worker Church, Goi [Source]

Father Dave was appointed District Superior of Chiba prefecture in November 1998 and became the Vice Director of the Region of Japan in March 2000. He was a representative for the Region of Japan at the Columban General Assembly in Australia in 2000. In 2006, having completed six years as Vice Director of the Region of Japan, he was appointed Regional Director, and continued in this role until March 2012. From 2003 to 2011 he also served as pastor of the Catholic church in Kisarazu city, Chiba prefecture.

Facing various health challenges, Father Dave retired in 2012 and stayed at the central house in Tokyo. However, as his health declined further, in spring 2014 he was assigned to the US Region, and soon after became a resident at St Elizabeth Manor in Bristol, Rhode Island. There, both his physical and mental health continued to deteriorate, and in the early morning of Friday 18 August he entered into eternal life.

Bristol Harbor, Bristol, RI [Wikipedia]

A man of considerable intellectual ability, Father Dave was known for his dedication to learning in a wide variety of disciplines. In his ministry, he was committed not only to his Japanese parishioners, but also provided a warm welcome and pastoral support to migrants. Furthermore, he actively encouraged other priests, seminarians and lay missionaries to be more responsive to the various needs of migrants. During his final years, he bore his on-going debilitation with patient acceptance and was grateful for the concern and kindness of those who accompanied him ‘through the valley of the shadow of darkness’.

Father Dave’s final resting place is in his hometown of Omaha. May he find eternal light, peace and joy in the risen Lord.

浜辺の歌 Hamabe no Uta – Song of the Seashore

The text of the obituary was supplied by the US Region of the Missionary Society of St Columban. It has been slightly edited here.

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