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Godfrey Weitekamp, OFM

Godfrey Weitekamp

1906 – 1962

Fr. Godfrey Weitekamp, OFM, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Dec. 30, 1906. He attended Fordham University and entered the Province’s novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., Aug. 26, 1933.

He professed temporary vows Aug. 27, 1934, and made his profession of solemn vows Sept. 17, 1937. Fr. Godfrey was ordained a priest at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, N.Y., June 12, 1938.

His first assignment was in Paterson, N.J., where he worked in St. Bonaventure Parish and served as advocate of the Paterson Diocesan Court. In 1942, Holy Name Province accepted a parish in Americus, Ga. Fr. Godfrey was appointed the first resident pastor of St. Mary Church in Americus and was the first Franciscan assigned to Georgia since the collapse of the Spanish missions 200 years previously.

His church was the poorest and most neglected building in Americus, and he began by painting it with himself. He built a new friary and church, and in 1946, he began a mission for black Catholics in Americus with the erection of the Chapel of St. Jerome.

In 1950, Fr. Godfrey was called back north to serve as an assistant and vicar at St. Joseph’s Church in East Rutherford, N.J. In 1952, he was appointed pastor of St. Francis Church in Wanaque, N.J., where he built a new friary and the parish school. In 1958, he was assigned to Holy Cross Parish in Clason Point, N.Y.

He died at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, N.Y., on July 21, 1962. He was 55 years old, a professed friar for 27 years and a priest for 24 years.