Interview with Fr. Bernie Danber, O.S.A.

Patrick Murphy: Hello, everybody.  This is Patrick Murphy, with the Augustinians.  Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Father Bernie Danber.  Father, it is a pleasure to have you with us today.

Fr. Bernie Danber, O.S.A.: Thank you, Patrick.

Murphy: Well, I'd like to get started and ask, Father, what was it that first called you to be an Augustinian?

Danber: I met the Augustinians, first, when I was in grammar school, because I was in Saint Rita Parish, which was also staffed by the Augustinians.  I got interested in becoming an Augustinian, when I was in high school, at Saint Rita High School.  I saw the Augustinian teachers and I thought it would be neat to be a priest here, and a teacher.  That's what really called me to be an Augustinian.

Murphy: Right now, speaking with you, your at the office at Saint Rita.  How does it feel to be back working at Saint Rita High School?

Danber: Good.  This is my third time back working here, and I have a lot invested in the school.  I'm very happy to be able to contribute again to the school.

Murphy: That's great.  Well, if we're to continue on, you have a lot of experience at Saint Rita, as well as other places.  In your perspective, what would you say is the role of the Augustinian Order today, and how are the Augustinians still relevant in today's society?

Danber: Well, I think that the role of the Order, as it was from the beginning, is to provide a place of community life for those who wish to follow a semi-monastic lifestyle, and also to fulfill whatever the needs of the Church are, whatever we are called to do.  The Augustinians are still relevant, because the Church is still relevant, and because we can adapt to different situations and changing times, we fit in well with the needs of the Church.

Murphy: I would agree.  Just, in my experience with the Augustinians the past few years, I've seen that, young Augustinians really go where the Church is needed.  If there's a need, and we can answer the call...

Danber: Right.

Murphy: ...the Augustinians, they're there. 

Danber: Mm hmm.

Murphy: Well, one thing that I wanted to particularly talk about today was, the Continuing Our Journey of Faith capital campaign.  As you know, the campaign hopes to build two trusts, the Father Ray Ryan Trust, for vocations, and the Journey of a Lifetime Trust, for the retired and infirm Augustinians.  Why do you think that this campaign is particularly important, at this point and time.

Danber: Well, both of these things are in great need of contributions and support.  For the men in formation, we can not continue the work, unless we do continue to form young men who want to join us.  That takes quite a bit of investment, so that's important.  For the retired and infirm Augustinians, we need to be able to provide them with comfort and support, both fraternal support and monetary support.  They have given their lives to the Church, and they deserve to be well taken care of, as they reach their golden years.  I think both of these are in great need, and we don't have a lot of people in the middle, right now, to support either one of those cases.  We need to look outside of our own resources.

Murphy: Thank you.  Thank you.  I also like to ask some of the friars, for everybody that might not have known Father Ray Ryan, and want to know why this trust is named after him, specifically for the vocations.  You knew Father Ray Ryan.  I'm wondering if you can speak about him as far as, his love for formation and vocation.

Danber: Sure.  I entered the Augustinians after high school and went to novitiate right after high school, and Father Ryan was my Novicemaster at that time.  He was one of the first Augustinians I met outside of Saint Rita High School.  We formed a relationship, a good friendship.  He moved with me, after the novitiate.  He moved to Tolentine College to be a Master of Professed there.  Later on, I had many dealings with him as the Provincial. 

He spent a lot of time in formation with seminarians, at various levels, at the high school seminary level, at the novitiate, at the professed level, at college and theology, also.  He had a lot of dealings with all of the people in formation at different times of their lives.  I think he was able to relate to all of them, and if they didn't always agree with him, at least he was willing to listen.  He was a great listener.  He was a good friend of mine.  I think it's very appropriate that the name of the trust be in his name.

Murphy: Alright.  Speaking of vocations, in particular the Augustinian vocations, I'm hoping that we have a few listeners right now that might be currently discerning a religious vocation.  Do you have any advice for them?

Danber: Look beyond the vocation director.  Look at the way the communities live their lives.  If you can see that you think that you would be able to experience a good life for yourself, in that way, that's how you should make your decision.

Murphy: Great.  Great.  That last question that I have here, Father, relates to why should others go that extra mile to make a special gift to this capital campaign.  I know that we said, there's not a lot of active men in the middle, between the men in formation, as well as the retirement.  From many donors' perspective, whether they went to Saint Rita or one of the other parishes, why should they consider a gift?

Danber: Well, we do need to take care of our older men, and our younger men.  We cannot handle the situation by ourselves.  I hope that all of the people that the Augustinians have worked with and worked for, over the past century, in the Midwest, I hope they are grateful for the work that we have done, and that they have enough interest and good memories, that they can continue to help us.

Murphy: Alright.  Well, thank you so much for your time, Father.  I know you've got to get back to work at Saint Rita.  For anyone else listening out there, if you want more information, there's more here at  Otherwise, you can contact the Campaign Director, Michael Gerrity at 773-595-4035.  Thank you again so much, Father Bernie.

Danber: Alright.  You're welcome, Patrick.

Posted on December 15, 2014 and filed under Bernie Danber O.S.A..