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Father Donald Wolf O'81
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Fr. Don Wolf
 Conferral speech for the Distinguished Alumnus Award given at the 2012 Saint Meinrad Alumni Reunion

 

Presented July 24, 2013

 

Delivered by Alumni Board Member Fr. Tom Boyer O'68 for Fr. Don Wolf.

Tonight the Saint Meinrad Alumni Association is pleased to honor Fr. Donald Wolf of the Ordination Class of 1981.


Fr. Wolf arrived on the Hill his junior year of college in 1975. He continued his seminary formation until his ordination in 1981, when he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City on May 16. This year marks his 31st anniversary as a priest.


At present, Fr. Wolf is the pastor of St. Benedict’s Parish in Shawnee, OK – fitting for a Benedictine seminary graduate. Prior to his current assignment which began in 2008, he served as associate pastor in Guymon and pastor at St. Francis Xavier in Enid, Sacred Heart in Mangum, Prince of Peace in Altus, Holy Angels and Sacred Heart in Oklahoma City, and Assumption Parish in Duncan.


Not one to become complacent with his pastoral responsibilities, Fr. Wolf attended to the Catholic Church in the United States by serving for eight years on the executive board for the National Federation of Priests’ Councils (NFPC). From 1997 to 2000, he was the president of the NFPC in Chicago. According to one nominator, his service enriched "the experience of priesthood in the United States by forming bonds of collaboration and fraternity among priests of different cultures and countries.”


Fr. Wolf’s passion for Hispanic ministry and his influence in Oklahoma were highlighted in one recommender’s statement, "Numerous Spanish-speaking Catholics have found a welcome in Oklahoma and opportunities for grace because of Don’s dedication to priestly ministry.” Another supporter writes, "Fr. Wolf has been a primary force for Hispanic ministry in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and beyond.”


In the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Fr. Wolf has served in a variety of capacities and on various councils. He served on the Priests Council, the Clergy Continuing Education Committee and as spiritual director for numerous Cursillo retreats, both in English and Spanish.


A seminarian currently studying at Saint Meinrad from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City had the opportunity to serve at Fr. Wolf’s parish for an extended period of time. This seminarian reflected on his experience of working with Fr. Wolf and shared this comment: "I learned how to empower the laity so they can participate in parish functions, and most importantly, share their gifts and talents with the larger community.” He continues, "Fr. Wolf’s humility, commitment and zeal as a parish priest made me fall in love with what a priest does and who a priest is when he gives himself completely to the needs of others.”


Bishop Anthony Taylor of the Diocese of Little Rock, a member of Saint Meinrad’s Ordination Class of 1980, knew Fr. Wolf when they were students at Saint Meinrad, both studying for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. In his recommendation, Bishop Taylor mentioned Fr. Wolf’s cousin, Fr. Stan Rother, whose cause for beatification is in Rome.

Fr. Rother visited the United States from Guatemala in 1981 for Fr. Wolf’s ordination. Two months later, Fr. Rother was martyred. Bishop Taylor suggests this inspired Fr. Wolf to "serve the Lord as courage
ously, sacrificially and with the same preferential option for the poor for which Fr. Rother gave his life.”


Fr. Wolf’s latest involvement has been as chairman of St. Gregory University’s Board of Directors, which is owned by the Benedictines of St. Gregory’s Abbey in Shawnee, Oklahoma. St. Gregory’s abbot, Rt. Rev. Lawrence Stasyszen, OSB, writes that Fr. Wolf brings "a valuable and effective voice and vision” to this role, and that his love for the university’s Benedictine tradition "has its roots in his experience as a seminarian at Saint Meinrad.”

In his time on the university’s Board of Directors, Fr. Wolf has helped the institution through a president’s dismissal, the hiring of a new president and sorting through difficult financial challenges.


Fr. Wolf, in the words of your nominators, thank you for being a shining beacon of light for your alma mater through your humility, courage, sacrifice, zeal, commitment, collaboration, and dedication to the priesthood and those you serve. You truly have worked to better your communities as a pastor and the whole Catholic Church as a leader.

 

Fr. Donald Wolf, it is our privilege to bestow to you the Saint Meinrad Distinguished Alumnus Award.



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