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A rich and rewarding vocation story

November 11, 2015 12:23 PM
 

Logue,-Father-Dennis_rewarding-vocation_Nov-2015By Rob Kundert

In the months following World War II, as a member of the U.S. Army’s occupation force who witnessed the bombed-out buildings and piles of rubble that pervaded post-war Germany, young Dennis Logue felt a call.

"I had this deep hunger for God. I would go to Mass with the German people and I would go into the church after duty to pray," he said. "I would just pour my heart out to our dear Lord and say, ‘I want my life to be better than the life I have been living.’"

The Lord answered his prayers in a rich and rewarding way. His ministry as a Divine Word brother would take him from the wine country of upstate New York to hospitals, seminaries and a prison. Later, as a Divine Word priest, he was a chaplain in a major hospital and did parish work in rural Appalachia. Meanwhile, he further enriched his priestly life by becoming bi-ritual, which allowed him to work in parishes of the Byzantine Catholic Church.

This journey began shortly after he was discharged from the service in late 1946. An ad about religious life caught his attention, but a visit to a religious goods store identified his call. He overheard a woman commenting on some rosaries that were made by religious brothers.

"That was a bolt of lightning that hit me. That answered my search," he said. "Here were men doing this religious work and that’s exactly what I wanted to do."

The Divine Word Missionary was the first to respond to his interest in religious life, and he joined the order at Conesus, N.Y., in 1947. After professing his first vows as a brother on Aug. 15, 1950, he worked in the Conesus winery and later learned to prepare food to feed the community at Bordentown. After his final vows in 1956, he was trained as a certified nursing assistant and served as infirmarian at Divine Word communities in Girard, Penn., and Miramar, Mass. Then, in 1974, he moved into prison ministry for several years at Bordentown Youth Correctional.

In 1979, he decided to take advantage of a new program that gave credit for life experience, and he pursued the priesthood. He was ordained in 1983 and for the next ten years, he was part of a community of Divine Word Missionaries in Pittsburgh, which served as chaplains at Presbyterian University Hospitals [now the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian].

"‘Presby’ was considered the organ transplant capital of the world when I was first there," Father Logue said. "People came from all over for livers, kidneys, and hearts."

In 1993, he was assigned to a decidedly different ministry—Appalachian parishes in rural West Virginia. Then, in 1997, he was presented with an opportunity to do something special—work in an Eastern Catholic parish and celebrate the Divine Liturgy.

"The Divine Liturgy is a mystical experience for me, you know, smelling the incense, hearing the chants, seeing the beauty of the gold and the icons," he said.

His appreciation for the Eastern Catholic Rite dates to his youth, growing up in the mining area north of Pittsburgh. Members of his extended family were Hungarian Eastern Rite Catholics, and he was deeply affected by their piety and spirituality. Later, when he worked in Girard, he often attended the nearby Sts. Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Catholic church.

Over time, he assisted in the Divine Liturgy and became adept in its rituals. So, after being ordained, Father Logue applied to Rome for permission to perform the Eastern Rite. He was granted those faculties and has continued to renew them every five years. In 1997, the Byzantine Catholic archbishop for the Pittsburgh area, who knew Father Logue in his earlier days in Girard, gave him a call to see if he would be interested in taking over the parish in Girard. He served in that parish for three years then moved on to another Eastern Catholic church, St. Michael in Pleasant City, Ohio.

In 2003, he returned to his Roman Catholic roots by going back to parish work in West Virginia. In 2006, he was assigned to be chaplain for the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters (SSpSAP), the contemplative order associated with the Society of the Divine Word, in St. Louis. In 2011, he left for Techny where he resides today, keeping himself busy as sacristan for the Divine Word community and as a hospice volunteer.

Celebrating his 65th jubilee in 2015, it is fair to say that the Good Lord answered Father Dennis Logue’s prayers those many years ago, amongst the rubble and carnage of war-ravaged Germany. He has truly led a better life.

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