Press Release from the Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe Province, Order of Friars Minor, reports that Fr. Berard Doerger, OFM, (80) died January 24, 2016, at Casa de Rosa Care Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Thomas Doerger was born on January 27, 1935, the son of Joseph J. Doerger and Marie Doerger (nee Schehl) in Cincinnati, Ohio. He grew up in the shadow of St. Clement Parish and Friary in St. Bernard, Ohio. Berard was invested with the Franciscan habit on August 15, 1952 at St. Anthony National Shrine in Cincinnati, Ohio, and first professed vows there on August 16, 1953. Solemn profesion took place at Duns Scotus College in Southfield, Michigan on August 16, 1956. Berard was ordained priest by Most Rev. Rembert Kowalski, OFM, on June 13, 1961, at St. Leonard College, Dayton, Ohio.
Berard’s love of the written word, and his talent for music served him well during his varied ministerial career as a friar priest. He taught at Bishop Luers High School, Fort Wayne, Indiana, when newly ordained. He also served as an instructor at St. Francis High School Seminary, Mt. Healthy (Cincinnati) for seven years. He served as pastor and associate pastor in Buras, Louisiana, Roswell and Cuba, New Mexico, and in Olpe, Kansas. He also ministered at Houck and Lukachukai, Arizona, as well as Laguna, Acoma, and Jemez Pueblos in New Mexico.
Berard was a friar who devoted much of his time to prayer and meditation, and was instrumental in founding several houses of prayer during his ministry: first in Jemez Springs, New Mexico, and later at Houck, Arizona. He spent a year in Bolivia, South America, on sabbatical. He also spent time in Israel and Croatia. His final years of active ministry were spent in Pena Plance and Albuquerque, New Mexico, before ill health forced his retirement from active ministry in the Summer of 2013.
Berard was an avid storyteller, and regaled our young friars in formation with tales of St. John the Baptist and Our Lady of Guadalupe Provinces. His love of music spilled over into various provincial celebrations, and he was always ready to lead song fests. Berard wrote poetry and meditations that chronicled his own spiritual journey. Additionally, he would compose music for his own creative outlet and satisfaction.
Berard is survived by his siblings: Jerry Doerger, Richard (Judy) Doerger, Patricia Mae Doerger, Rita Gullette (+Jim), and brother-in-law Don (+Joanne Doerger) Speed.
Reception of the body will take place at San Juan Diego Friary, 1350 Lakeview Road, SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Friday, January 29, 2016, at 9:30 AM, followed by the funeral liturgy at 10:30 AM. Cremation will take place, and a memorial Mass will be held at St. Clement Parish, 4536 Vine Street, St. Bernard, Ohio, 45217, on Monday, February 8, 2016. Interment will take place at St. Mary Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Expressions of sympathy may be sent to Jerry or Patricia M. Doerger, 1116 White Pine Court, Cincinnati, OH 45255.