Surrounded by many of his 92 first cousins and their families, several former students and colleagues, and dozens of Franciscan Friars from across the country, Fr. Wayne Hellmann OFM Conv. celebrated 50 years of priestly ordination on Sunday, October 22 at St. Benedict Church in Terre Haute, Indiana.

St. Benedict Church in Terre Haute, Indiana, was full of family and friends for the celebration of Fr. Wayne Hellmann's 60 years of priesthood.


Known for his ability to speak, write, and preach clearly, he summed up the day with one word: “Wow!”


During his homily for the occasion, Fr. Wayne pointed his listeners toward the mural high above the altar and the figures he pondered as a young boy attending Mass with his family. He said that an artist’s intention is for the viewer to look deeper and to see what can’t be seen. In this case, pondering the mystery of the Trinity led him, and can lead each of us, to the discovery of God’s deep and abiding love in our lives.


The extended Hellmann family member’s lives are intertwined with Catholic life in Terre Haute, from St. Ben’s where his father worked as a maintenance man, to the St. Mary’s of the Woods campus where his grandparents first met.


Fr. Wayne enjoyed being 'roasted'

As a student Friar in Germany and Rome during Vatican II, as a longtime professor and Chairman of the Department of Theology at St. Louis University, as a preacher of retreats and speaker on nearly every continent — Fr. Wayne has excelled while bearing witness to the Franciscan Joy of living the Gospel life.


During the celebration luncheon at the College’s campus center, family members, students, and Friars took turns speaking about Fr. Wayne, celebrating his commitment to the community they represented. But what each presentation had in common was how God’s love is made clear in Fr. Wayne’s passion for God’s people.


As the celebration ended, Fr. Wayne repeated his summary of the day, and for the rest of us the summary of his life and accomplishments: “Wow!”

For many more photos of the celebration, please visit the Province Facebook Page.