Mourning the Deaths of Franciscans

HNP Communications Franciscan World

The Provincial Office staff has learned of the passing of two members of English-speaking Conference provinces as well as an Italian friar who worked in Wisconsin for 45 years.

Martin Humphreys, OFM, a member of St. John the Baptist Province, died on Nov. 20 in Sharonville, Ohio. He was 94 years old, the eldest living friar of the province at the time of his death. Dec. 3 funeral services were private. In his 69 years as a professed friar, the Louisiana native – who attended Louisiana State University and was received as a candidate for Franciscan life at St. Anthony Friary & Shrine in Cincinnati in 1947 – had been stationed at St. Clement Parish in Cincinnati (1953 to 1966), Duns Scotus College in Southfield, Michigan (1966 to 1982), and St. Mary of the Angels Parish in New Orleans (1982 to 2004). He professed his first vows in 1951 and made his solemn profession in 1954. Remembered for his kindness and compassion for the marginalized, he helped launch a food pantry and outreach program during his years in Southfield that today continues to serve the poor in Detroit. He brought his ministry of outreach to New Orleans, where he also served as religious education coordinator for St. Mary of the Angels. His artistic talents also flourished in New Orleans, where he began work on abstract paintings and developed a following in some of the local galleries.

Albert Langheim, OFM, 93, a member of Sacred Heart Province, died of COVID-19 on Dec. 6 in Virden, Illinois. Born in Girard, Illinois, in a family of 10 children – all boys – he joined the Franciscans in 1948 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1955. With a master’s degree in counseling and a certification as a clinical pastoral education supervisor, he worked in the areas of psychological counseling and in hospital chaplaincy for more than 20 years. During those two decades, he also helped with the formation of many men pursuing a vocation in the religious life and the priesthood. The Illinois native was known to have been a pioneer in integrating theological studies with behavioral sciences. He was a leading figure in the establishment of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains. One of his proudest achievements was founding the Museum of L’Arbre Croche History in 1995 on the grounds of the church where he served as the pastor in Cross Village, Michigan. The museum displays artifacts and resource materials of local Native Americans and early explorers and settlers of northern Michigan. Funeral services took place in Virden on Dec. 12.

Sereno Baiardi, OFM, former director of the General Secretariat of the OFM Missions in the USA from 1971 to 2014, died on Nov. 17 in Trento, Italy. Sereno was born Jan. 27, 1941, in Rivanazzano. He made his first vows in  1959, and was ordained a priest on June 26, 1966. He worked in Benghazi, Libya, as episcopal secretary from 1969 until he was expelled by the Libyan government on Oct. 12, 1970, together with all Italians. He was sent to the United States in March 1971, initially to Burlington, Wisconsin, as an official of the General Secretariat of the OFM Missions in the USA. A few months later, Sereno was appointed director of the same secretariat and transferred to Waterford, Wisconsin, not far from the headquarters of Assumption BVM Province. He dedicated himself for 45 years to the service of the Franciscan missions through itinerant preaching and the creation and organization of the fundraising office. Sereno had lived in Italy since October 2015.

– Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

 Editor’s note: Each month, HNP Today publishes news of the deaths of Franciscan brothers, priests, and sisters. Information should be emailed to the HNP Communications Office.