Sunday, 22 November 2009 00:00

Obituary - Father Jovian Lang, OFM

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He was born on June 2, 1919, in Sioux City, Iowa, son of Peter and Margaret Horvath Lang and received the name of Peter. In 1939 he entered the novitiate of the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) and was given the religious name of “Jovian.” After first profession in 1940 and solemn profession of vows on Aug. 23, 1943, he was ordained a priest on June 20, 1946.

He spent his first year of ministry in an internship program based at the Franciscans’ Quincy College (now University) in Quincy. His professional expertise was library science, which he exercised at Quincy College for 20 years (in two stints); then at St. Joseph Minor Seminary in Westmont for two years; at the University of Southern Florida in Tampa as a faculty member for four years; at St. John University in Jamaica, N.Y., for 14 years as a faculty member; and at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, Fla., where was on the faculty there and also at the University of South Florida-East Coast.

A little-known fact about Father Jovian was that he served as the spiritual guide for prize-fighter Sugar Ray Robinson during his time at the seminary in Westmont.

In 1992, Father Jovian moved to St. Maximilian Friary in Crowley, Texas, where he began a period of semi-retirement during which he taught library and information science for eight years at the University of North Texas and the Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas.

During most of the years of working in library science either as a professor or as a librarian, he also provided a very valuable service to English-speaking Franciscans in North America. He prepared and edited the Guide for the Liturgy of the Roman-Seraphic Calendar (also called The Ordo) which provides the order, instructions, and options for praying the Liturgy of the Hours and for celebrating the Eucharist.

Father Jovian moved into full retirement in 2005 when he went to Our Lady of Angels Friary at Villa West in Sherman because of failing health.

He is survived by his sister Charlotte Melland of Lee Summitt, Mo.; a brother, Phillip Lang of Houston; and nieces and nephews.

The Mass of Christian Burial for Father Jovian was held Nov. 7 in the chapel at Villa West in Sherman. Burial was in the Friars’ Plot of Calvary Cemetery in Springfield.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made for the care of elderly Franciscan Priests and Brothers at  Our Lady of Angels, P.O. Box 2153, Springfield, IL 62703

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