Clipped From Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
JOSEPH F. RENGERS A priest who had influence on many By Cindi Lash Post-Gazette Post-Gazette Post-Gazette Staff Writer For a fellow who'd been retired for about a dozen years, the Rev. Joseph F. Rengers didn't spend much time lounging in an easy chair. The 84-year-old 84-year-old 84-year-old 84-year-old 84-year-old Catholic priest continued to . say Mass several mornings each week and on Sunday. Sunday. He presided over weddings and funerals at Holy Spirit Parish in Millvale, where he lived. He drove himself to visit with sick or shut-in shut-in shut-in parishioners anywhere he was needed. "He wanted to remain active until the end came, and then he hoped that the end would come quickly," said the Rev. John Weber, who has been pastor at Holy Spirit for the past 16 months. "I've heard him say that many times. All of us here have thought about that in the last day or so." On Monday afternoon, Father Rengers visited an ailing parishioner parishioner who desired to receive Communion Communion at home. On his way back, his car struck a concrete barrier and a utility pole at Gerwick and Williams streets in Millvale. Father Rengers, who was alone in his car, was taken to Allegheny General Hospital for treatment of head and chest injuries. He died there early Tuesday, ending a 56-year 56-year 56-year career as a parish priest and teacher that included a stint as chaplain at Duquesne University. That his death came while he was ministering "was just so characteristic characteristic of him. He's been such a good priest," said Weber, who had met Father Rengers in 1953 at Duquesne Duquesne when Weber was an undergraduate undergraduate student and Father Rengers Rengers was the chaplain. Mild-mannered Mild-mannered Mild-mannered and calm with a ft r - ' L ! The Rev. Joseph F. Rengers in 1979 had quite an effect on people. He was one of my great influences." A native of Sharpsburg, Father Rengers attended St. Mary School in Sharpsburg until 1927, when at age 14 he entered Holy Ghost Seminary Seminary in Cornwells Heights, Bucks County. He attended high school and completed four years of college studies there, then studied philosophy philosophy at St. Mary Seminary in Nor-walk, Nor-walk, Nor-walk, Conn. He professed his vows in 1936, then studied theology at the University University of Fribourg in Switzerland until World War II broke out. He then returned to St. Mary Seminary and was ordained a priest there in 1941. Father Rengers served parishes in Arkansas, Louisiana, Rhode Island Island and Michigan and taught at St. Emma Military Academy in Rock Castle, Va., and St. Francis de Sales High School in Chicago. He also spent 11 years as chaplain at Duquesne. Father Rengers served as pastor at the former St. Anthony Church in Millvale, now part of Holy Spirit Parish, from 1977 to 1982. He later served briefly at St. Mary Church in Sharpsburg and at Sacred Heart Church in Emsworth before retiring 10 to 12 years ago, Weber said. Visitation will be from noon to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today and from 2 to 9 p.m. tomorrow in Healy-Hahn Healy-Hahn Healy-Hahn Funeral Funeral Home, 425 Grant Ave., Millvale, Millvale, where vespers will be said at 7 p.m. Prayers will be offered there at 9:15 a.m. Saturday before a Mass at 10 a.m. in St. Mary Church, Sharpsburg. Sharpsburg. Burial will be in St. Mary Cemetery, Cemetery, O'Hara.