Bernard A Weinholtz, OFM
1914 – 2002
Fr. Bernard A. Weinholtz, OFM, was born in Buffalo, N.Y., on Jan. 7, 1914. He spent two years at the Little Seminary of Buffalo before enrolling in St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y.
In 1933, he was received into the Province’s Novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., and a year later professed temporary vows there. He professed solemn vows in 1937 at Holy Name College, Washington, D.C. In 1940, Fr. Bernard was ordained a priest in the crypt of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington.
Fr. Bernard’s priestly activities were mostly centered on the internal routines of the friaries where he lived, particularly St. Bonaventure’s in Paterson and Sacred Heart in East Rutherford, N.J., when he moved there with the Paterson community in 1983; those two places together accounted for more than 40 years of his total fraternal service. He was always attentive to the liturgical and spiritual programs of the friary, like the Divine Office, meditation and community Mass.
As a religious, Fr. Bernard lived poorly. According to a former guardian, for years he gave most of his small monthly allowance to the needy. An exemplar of the simple Franciscan life, he was also an authentic naif who embodied the heart and spirit of a child as expressed through faith, love of song, and a playful sense of fun.
Fr. Bernard’s loud, strident laughter and broad, lavish gestures came into play when he had an extended tale to tell, like after a vacation, when he would describe with infinite enthusiasm the various happenings.
He also greatly enjoyed assignments as supply minister to area parishes, hospitals and convents. He spent time at six Province friaries over a 51-year period before retiring to St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla., in 1992. In January 1999, Fr. Bernard was transferred to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J.
He died Dec. 5, 2002, at Holy Name Friary. Fr. Bernard was 88 years old, a professed friar for 68 years and a priest for 62 years.