Elder Oblates

Fr. Clarence Zachman, OMI Fr. Clarence Zachman, O.M.I.

At the age of 98, Fr. Clarence Zachman, O.M.I. is the oldest Missionary Oblate in the United States.  But you wouldn’t know it by his actions.  He doesn’t need a cane, walker or wheelchair to get around.  He still drives , and likes to shovel snow.

Father Clarence was ordained in 1948 and spent most of his early years as an Oblate teaching at Our Lady of the Ozarks College until 1961.  He then joined the United States Air Force as a Military Chaplain, and for the next 20 years was stationed in countries around the world.  In 1981 he joined the staff at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.

“I am so grateful to the Lord for allowing me to have so many joyous years of ministry, and being able to become friends with many wonderful people,” said Fr. Clarence.  “What keeps me young is that I am always looking to improve my personal relationship with God.”

Fr. Ron Carnignan, O.M.I. and Fr. Leo Dummer, O.M.I.

Fr. Ron Carignan, OMI and Fr. Leo Dummer, MI For more than 50 years, Fr. Ron and Fr. Leo ministered side by side throughout the United States and around the world.  “God put us together at the start of our ministries,” said Fr. Leo.  “We’ve been like a hand and a glove ever since.”

The two Oblates ministered for about 20 years at Catholic high schools on the west coast, Fr. Ron usually as the principal and Fr. Leo as his vice-principal.  Eventually Fr. Ron became Provincial for the Oblates’ western province and Fr. Leo became his treasurer.  The two also ministered in the African nation of Zambia together, Fr. Ron as the head of the delegation and Fr. Leo as his treasurer.

Today, Fr. Ron and Fr. Leo live at the Oblate Madonna Residence in San Antonio, Texas.  Father Leo has trouble walking so Fr. Ron is there to push him in his wheelchair. Father Ron occasionally has trouble remembering things, so Fr. Leo is there to help fill in the gaps.

“We were willing to take the difficult road together,” said Fr. Ron.  “And in doing so we discovered that is a wonderful place to be.”

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