Luke Panfoerder, OFM
1877 – 1959
Fr. Luke Panfoerder, OFM, was born at Berghausen, Germany, on Aug. 17, 1877. He attended the Seraphic Seminary at Harreveld in Holland to prepare for the priesthood.
In 1896, he came to America with seven other young men to become friars. He was received into the novitiate on Dec. 24, 1896, and his novice master was future Provincial Minister, Fr. Edward Blecke, OFM. Fr. Luke professed temporary vows Dec. 25, 1897, and made his profession of solemn vows Jan. 27, 1901. Fr. Luke was ordained a priest at St. Bonaventure Church in Paterson, N.J., June 4, 1906.
He was assigned to St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., where he was the prefect of discipline and a professor for 11 years. In 1918, he was transferred to St. Stephen’s Friary in Croghan, N.Y., where he taught Latin, Greek and Hebrew. Fr. Luke also served as master of clerics and cared for St. Ann’s Church in Castorland, N.Y.
From 1922 to 1925, he returned to teach at the seminary in Callicoon and was in charge of St. Francis Church in Youngsville, N.Y. In 1925, Fr. Luke was appointed guardian of St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson and served six years in that role. He directed the building of the extensive addition to the friary, including the large and beautiful chapel. From 1925 to 1928, he was also the assistant novice master and worked in the parish.
He served as vicar in Paterson from 1931 until 1937 when he was again elected guardian of the friary. From 1925 until 1941, Fr. Luke was active in promoting the Secular Franciscans in the Paterson area.
He lived in Paterson until 1955, when he was transferred to St. Raphael Friary in Lafayette, N.J., where he died in his sleep on June 22, 1959. He was 81 years old, a professed friar for 61 years and a priest for 53 years.