Martin Bangert, OFM
1918 – 1986
Fr. Martin Bangert, OFM, was born in New York City on April 19, 1918. He graduated from Fordham University in 1940 and entered the United States Army. During World War II, he served as a First Lieutenant, flying as a bombardier on bombing raids over Germany. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944.
He was received into the Province’s novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., Aug. 13, 1945, and professed temporary vows Aug. 14, 1946. Fr. Martin made his profession of solemn vows Sept. 17, 1949, and was ordained a priest Jan. 2, 1950.
After ordination, he spent a year at St. Francis Parish in Beach Haven, N.J., and two years at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City. In 1953, Fr. Martin went south where he ministered for the next 23 years.
He served in Emporia, Va, Winston-Salem, N.C., Americus, Ga., and Albany, Ga. Fr. Martin’s dedication to ministry to black Catholics was carried on during an era of high racial tensions in America, and his sympathies were clearly on the side of justice.
In 1970, Fr. Martin was appointed pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Greenville, S.C., and served for six years. He volunteered for the mission in Jamaica, and after three years at Our Lady of Angels Parish, he was appointed pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Highgate, Jamaica.
Fr. Martin’s devoted ministry, genuine love for the Province and his Franciscan missionary spirit was the legacy he left behind.
He died in Warwick, N.Y., on July 23, 1986. Fr. Martin was 68 years old, a professed friar for nearly 40 years and a priest for 36 years.