Missionary priest served in the United States as example for others

Father Edward Wald, 1922-2008

Wald,_Fr_Edward_for_webThe Rev. Edward Wald, 86, a Divine Word Missionary and an educator, died Dec. 9, 2008, at Techny, Ill.

"Ed Wald epitomized what it means to be a missionary in the United States," said Rev. Mark Weber SVD, provincial of the Society of the Divine Word’s Chicago Province. "During his priesthood, he conscientiously taught the youth, actively supported his brother’s ministry in Papua New Guinea, and tirelessly served the poor and marginalized in our country."

The eighth of Ann Marie and Michael Wald’s 12 children, Father Wald was born in Karlsruhe, N.D. and followed his older brother John’s footsteps by leaving the family farm and becoming a Divine Word Missionary. Although he left the farm, he never lost his love for it.

Father Wald became a member of the Society of the Divine Word in 1943, the same year that his brother John, who died this past May, was ordained a priest. Father Ed Wald’s own ordination took place in May of 1950.

For more than two decades, he taught scores of future Divine Word brothers and priests at Divine Word Seminaries in Miramar, Mass.; Conesus, N.Y.; Bordentown, N.J.; and Girard, Pa. During many of those years, he managed farms at Conesus and Girard. Those farms on which they grew produce and raised animals allowed the missionaries and their students to be somewhat self-sufficient.

In 1971, when the working farms were no longer needed, Father Wald spent six months studying at the Society of the Divine Word Tertiate at Nemi, Italy, near Rome. Upon return the following year, he became a chaplain for four hospitals within the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Then, in 1984, he was assigned to St. Thomas Parish in Gassaway, W. Vir., where he and his parishioners built a two-story parish hall with classrooms.

Ten years later, he reported to St. Louis, where he provided pastoral care at St. Nicholas Parish, the Jefferson Arms Retirement Home, and St. Thomas of Aquin. In 2001, he moved to Techny and was joined by his brother John in 2002.

Father Wald is survived by his brother Alex and two sisters, Mary Bujnovsky and Ann Ziegler. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations for the care of retired missionaries may be sent to The Rector, Divine Word Residence, 1901 Waukegan Road, P.O. Box 6000, Techny, IL 60082-6000.

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