Marcellus Kolmer, OFM
1877 – 1955
Fr. Marcellus Kolmer, OFM, was born in Irnkofen, Germany, on Sept. 19, 1877. He came to America as a young man, and attended St. Francis College in Quincy, Ill.
At the age of 17, he entered the novitiate in Paterson, N.J., on Aug. 9, 1894. He professed temporary vows Oct. 4, 1895, and made his profession of solemn vows Oct. 9, 1898. While studying theology at St. Stephen’s Friary in Croghan, N.Y., he contracted tuberculosis and was sent to Denver. Convinced he would not live to complete his theology, his superiors obtained a dispensation to have him ordained before he died.
Fr. Marcellus was ordained a priest in Denver on June 24, 1902. He lived a long and fruitful Franciscan life for half a century. He preached missions, founded parishes and served as chaplain for the aged and the infirm. He ranks among the early pioneers of Holy Name Province.
He served at St. Anthony Church in Butler, N.J., St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City, St. Patrick’s Church in Buffalo, N.Y., St. Bonaventure Church in Paterson, Holy Name Church in Garfield, N.J., St. Mary’s Church in Obernburg, N.Y., and Denville, N.J.
While stationed at St. Francis Friary in Manhattan, he was appointed the first pastor in Clason Point, N.Y. Out of deep devotion to the Passion of Christ, Fr. Marcellus named the new church “Holy Cross.” He also built St. Joseph Church in Lincoln Park, N.J. His last appointment took him to St. Francis Health Center in Denville as chaplain, where he ministered for more than 15 years.
He died in Denville on July 24, 1955. Fr. Marcellus was 77 years old, a professed friar for 59 years and a priest for 53 years.