THE RIGHT REVEREND JOHN NEITZEL, O.PRAEM.: Founding Abbot of Daylesford Abbey

John Edward Neitzel, O. Praem.
Abbot Emeritus of Daylesford Abbey
Former Definitor of the Order of Prémontré
Former Vicar of the Abbot General
for the English-speaking Circary

Abbot John Neitzel was born the son of George and Luella (Keehan) Neitzel in Fond-du-Lac, Wisconsin on March 23, 1924. He was vested at Saint Norbert Abbey in West De Pere, Wisconsin on August 28, 1943 and took solemn vows on August 28, 1948. He was ordained a priest by Bishop Stanislaus V. Bona in the Cathedral of Saint Francis Xavier in Green Bay, Wisconsin on June 11, 1949. He received his MA degree in the Classics from the University of Wisconsin in 1954 and taught at Saint Norbert High School in De Pere, Wisconsin and Southeast Catholic/Bishop Neumann High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1956 he was appointed master of professed at Saint Norbert Abbey and in 1961 principal of Bishop Neumann High School in Philadelphia. In 1963 he became Daylesford’s prior de regimine. Elected as first Abbot of Daylesford Abbey on April 7, 1971 he received the abbatial blessing on June 17, 1971 from John Cardinal Krol of Philadelphia. He continued to serve as Abbot of Daylesford Abbey until January 23, 1989. He served as pastor of Saint Matthew’s Parish in Dauphin, PA from 1989 to 1997. He then retired to the Abbey and continued to model in his life the values of community, humility and service to the local church. He died on his 84th birthday, March 23, Easter morning 2008.

Visitation will begin with Evening Prayer at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, March 28, close with Night Prayer at 7:30 p.m. and continue again on Saturday morning with Morning Prayer at 8:30. The Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. followed by burial in the Abbey cemetery.

+ Abbot Ronald Rossi, O. Praem.
and the Community of Daylesford Abbey

JB's Note: Abbot John was an extraordinarily kind man who was always pleasant to be around. He always - always - went out of his way to connect with people whether it was just for a quick minute or for an extended conversation. Perhaps he had a casual admiration for the Philadelphia Eagles, having served there as Abbot for so long; but he always wanted the latest Packer news available. Secretly, he knew that you could take John out of Wisconsin, but you could not take Wisconsin out of him! Rest in Peace, Father Abbot!


Cathy Zehms said...

Thank you for the obituary information for the Rev. John Neitzel. We have been remembering him in our prayers at Holy Cross/Bay Settlement. I linked to your blog post so that parishioners not familiar with his life's work might read about him. Great blog!!

Anne Moore said...

Fr. Jim, I just discovered this blog, and it's very interesting. Being Fr. John's niece, it was good to see his face on your blog, even though I've read this obituary many times. I had no idea about some of the things he had done and the people he had influenced. He was just Fr. John to us! We miss him very much.

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