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• Rev. Anthony Boettcher Brodniak, MM
• Brother Robert Wade, SM

placeholder January 9, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 1   •   Oakland, CA

Rev. Anthony Boettcher Brodniak, MM

Father Anthony Boettcher Brodniak, a Maryknoll priest from the Oakland Diocese who spent many years as a missioner in Japan, died Dec. 21 in a New York hospital. He was 85 years of age and a Maryknoll priest for 57 years.

Father Brodniak was born in Alameda. His family moved to New York where he attended a Catholic school (1932-1936). When the family returned to the East Bay he attended St. Francis de Sales School in Oakland (1936-1940) and was graduated from St. Joseph Preparatory Seminary in Mountain View (1945). After two years of college work, he joined the Maryknoll Seminary in Ossining, New York. After his ordination to the priesthood in 1954 he was assigned to Japan. He underwent an intense year of study of the Japanese language and culture, and was appointed assistant pastor at Yokkaichi Parish in the Mie Prefecture of the Kyoto Diocese. More than 500 adult Japanese received the sacrament of baptism from Father Brodniak.

He survived the Ise Bay Typhoon in 1959, and was involved in extensive relief efforts in its wake. In addition to his parish work, the priest became chaplain and teacher at the Maryknoll Sisters’ middle school and high school for girls. After his 1965 appointment as pastor to a new parish based in Nagaoka, he spent two years building and establishing a new mission and a kindergarten.

During a study break in 1960, Father Brodniak took courses in education and child psychology at Holy Names College (now University) in Oakland. In 1967 he studied counseling, special education and moral theology at the University of San Francisco before taking on a new assignment as administrator of the largest institution for developmentally disabled children in Mie Prefecture.

He continued to serve in pastoral ministry during the mid- to late 1970s, before being appointed to full-time retreat ministry in 1979. Returning to the U.S. once again, he studied Clinical Pastoral Education at Providence Hospital in Oakland in 1981. He took a one-year program at the Institute for Spiritual Leadership in Chicago.

The priest returned to Japan in 1983 and served as supervisor of the Maryknoll Center House in Karasaki and joined a team of clergy which toured the country offering workshops on spirituality (1984-2010). Again, returning to the States, he assisted at his community’s Office of Society Personnel.

At the time of his 50th Jubilee in 2004, Father Brodniak said it was difficult to point to any one incident that he would call the “high point” of his mission career. “I feel that each day is its own high point, because each day gives me new experiences in relating with the Japanese and their culture. Hence, I think the high point of my career as a missioner in Japan will be the last day of my life.”

The funeral Mass was held at Our Lady Queen of the Apostles Chapel on Dec. 28. Burial followed in Maryknoll Society Cemetery in Ossining, New York.

Rev. James Driscoll

Father James Driscoll, a retired priest of the Oakland Diocese, died Oct. 29 in Danville, at the age of 82.

He was born in San Francisco, and attended Catholic schools there before entering St. Joseph College and then St. Patrick’s College and Seminary in Menlo Park. He was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop John J. Mitty at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco on June 11, 1955. He first served as an associate pastor at St. Leo Parish in Oakland, and then at St. Basil in Vallejo, in the Sacramento Diocese. Returning to the Oakland Diocese in 1964, he served as associate pastor at St. Lawrence O’Toole Parish in Oakland, St. Leonard in Fremont and Sacred Heart in Oakland. In 1969 he became pastor at St. Augustine Parish in Oakland, a position he held for 10 years. He also served as diocesan director of the Propagation of the Faith from 1980 – 1983 and as director of faith formation at St. Isidore Parish in Danville.

A talented writer and musician, Father Driscoll began writing plays at St. Patrick’s Seminary. He later produced original works at his various parish assignments. An avid sports fan, he enjoyed coaching and playing baseball, softball and basketball for many years.

The priest was also well versed in Scripture and history, noted Msgr. Daniel Cardelli, who wrote a tribute to Father Driscoll in 2005 when the priest celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. “When he explains history and Scripture he relates it as if he were an eyewitness. He both captures the essence of the subject and is captivating in the telling of it,” Rev. Msgr. Cardelli wrote.

Survivors include several nieces and nephews and their children.

The funeral Mass took place Nov. 2 at St. Isidore Church in Danville. Interment was at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Colma.

Brother Robert Wade, SM

Brother Robert Wade, a Marianist for 63 years, died Dec. 8 at the age of 84.

He was born in Denver, Colorado, and grew up in San Leandro where he attended St. Leander School and St. Joseph High School in Alameda, which was administered by the Society of Mary, the Marianists. However it wasn’t until he was serving in the military in World War II that he discerned a call to religious life. “By daily Mass and communion, and the aid of the Blessed Mother, it grew in me,” he wrote in a letter to the province.

In 1947 he entered the Marianist novitiate in Beacon, New York, and professed first vows as a Marianist the following year. After several years in culinary and maintenance training he professed perpetual vows on June 21, 1953. His first assignment was at St. Louis College in Honolulu, Hawaii.

In addition to Honolulu, Brother Wade spent much of the following years in various assignments in California: Santa Cruz, Gardena, San Jose, Cupertino and San Francisco.

Over the years Brother Wade built a reputation as a jack-of-all-trades — someone who could fix just about everything, said Brother Stanley Murakami. As a result Brother Wade found himself in high demand doing odd jobs at the request of other communities. “He was a good community man,” Brother Murakami said. “He appreciated his brothers and was interested in their lives. He loved conversation.”

Father Joseph Stefanelli agreed and noted, “He portrayed a gruff, military exterior, but he was always very concerned about people and ready to help anyone.”

The funeral Mass was held Dec. 15 at the Chapel of the Marianist Martyrs at the Marianist Center in Cupertino. Burial followed at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Cupertino.

— Carrie McClish

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