Wednesday, January 5, 2011

R.I.P. Fr. Roch Niemier

Those who had gone on pilgrimage to Assisi will remember Fr. Roch,
please remember him in your prayers.

from the Green Bay Press Gazzette:

Fr. Roch Niemier, O.F.M., a member of the Franciscan Friars of the
Assumption B.V.M. Province, died Friday afternoon, Dec. 31, 2010, at a
Milwaukee hospital.

Fr. Roch served the community in retreat and formation ministry after
ordination. In 1978, he received permission to pursue a pilgrim
lifestyle in Europe. He left in March and in April was in Florence for
studies. In June, he joined Fr. Damien Isabel, O.F.M., of the Sacred
Heart Province. In 1972, Fr. Damien initiated "The Assisi Experience"
for inviting young friars before solemn profession to visit the
Franciscan places of Italy. Fr. Roch joined the group as lecturer and
guide. In 1981, he succeeded Fr. Damien as the Director of the
Franciscan Study Pilgrimage Program.

For the next 30 years he led the Franciscan Pilgrimage Program,
developing it into a program that currently has a staff of 24 and up
to 22 pilgrimages a year, not only to Italy but to the Holy Land and
the California Missions as well. In 2004, Fr. Roch was granted an
honorary doctorate of humane letters from St. Bonaventure University
in Olean, N.Y., in recognition for his contribution to fostering the
Franciscan heritage among so many people. He stepped down as CEO of
the Pilgrimage Program in 2005. At this time he began his ministry as
Provincial Spiritual Assistant to the Secular Franciscan Order.

In addition to being heavily involved with the Pilgrimage Program, Fr.
Roch was also very involved with the friars of the Assumption
Province, serving as Guardian for two terms and Provincial Councilor
for one term. At the time of his death he was a member of the Chapter
Planning Committee.

The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Clare
Parish, Wind Lake, Wis. Burial will take place in the Provincial
Cemetery in Pulaski in the spring. Marnocha Funeral Home, Pulaski, is
assisting the friars with local arrangements.

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