Deacon Joseph Michael Conrad Jr. Obituary

Death-notice-picture-2x2-for-webDeacon Joseph Michael Conrad Jr., of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, passed away on August 8, 2014. He was 78 years old.

The viewing and the funeral mass will be held at St. Luke Catholic Church, 4925 East Capitol Street, S.E. in Washington, D.C. on August 18, 2014. The viewing will begin at 9:00 a.m. and will be followed by the funeral mass at 11:00 a.m.  The Most Revered John H. Ricard, SSJ, Bishop Emeritus of Pensacola – Tallahassee will officiate. The Rite of Christian Burial will immediately follow the funeral mass at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, 13801 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Stewart Funeral Home in Washington, D.C.

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 16,1936, Deacon Conrad graduated from Xavier University Preparatory High School and received a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Xavier University of Louisiana. He continued his studies at many institutions in Washington, D.C. including economics at George Washington University; management at the Brookings Institute; and theology at St. Joseph’s Seminary. He also studied urban planning at MIT in Boston, Massachusetts through a Community Fellow Program.

Joseph Conrad was married to Bernadine Ann Barard on July 28,1962. They were married 52 years and renewed their vows on their 50th wedding anniversary at St. Luke Church.

Deacon Conrad’s professional career spanned more than 40 years in the federal government working in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans, Louisiana with the majority of his federal service being with the Small Business Administration (SBA). In 1978 SBA chose Deacon Conrad to lead its Louisiana office, making him the SBA’s first African-American District Director in the South. He also held several management positions in SBA’s headquarters promoting minority business development throughout his career. During his tenure at the SBA, he developed and implemented several new SBA programs promoting the development of minority-owned businesses and received the SBA Silver Medal for Meritorious Service and many other awards. Prior to working at SBA, Deacon Conrad worked at the Department of Labor, Civil Service Commission and the Department of Commerce. He also served in the Army for 3½ years. He retired from federal service in 1995.

In addition to being a civil servant, Deacon Conrad was also a servant of God. He and 22 other married men, after studying for two years, were ordained on September 11, 1971, in the first class of permanent deacons in the United States. His first assignment as a permanent deacon was at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Washington, D.C. Additional assignments included St. Joseph’s Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and St. Gabriel the Archangel Church in New Orleans, Louisiana. His last assignment was at St. Luke Church under the Josephite Order, which was instrumental in ensuring that the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved a permanent deaconate program. In 2011 Deacon Conrad celebrated his 40th year serving as a permanent deacon.

Deacon Conrad’s involvement in the Catholic Church began well before he was ordained as a permanent deacon. He was the assistant director of the choir at St. Luke when the choir sang in Latin and more recently he served as the spiritual advisor for the church’s Holy Name Society. He was also a longtime altar server in elementary and high school in New Orleans at Corpus Christi Church.

Deacon Conrad is survived by his wife Bernadine; children Joseph M.Conrad III, Monique Conrad O’Grady, and Melinda Conrad Brown; daughter-in-law Lynette Seraile Conrad, son-in-laws Michael O’Grady and Andre Brown; grandchildren Andreas Brown, Sandaa Brown, Caitlin O’Grady, Brittany O’Grady, Michael O’Grady Jr., Emmanuel Conrad and Raphael Conrad; siblings Shirley Conrad and Fritz Conrad; a host of nieces and nephews other family and friends.

Deacon Conrad is preceded in death by his parents Joseph and Manuella Conrad; sister Anne Conrad, twin sister Joanna Conrad and brother Melvin Conrad.

In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be sent to the St. Joseph Society of the Sacred Heart, a congregation of priests and brothers whose exclusive mission is to serve the African-American community, located at 1130 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202 or at

A New Sign of Hope in The Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans

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Photo by Christine Borderlon, CLARION HERALD
Father Oswald Pierre-Jules, pastor of St. David’s parish joins New Orleans’ Archbishop Gregory Aymond and Holy Faith Sister Teresa Rooney, pastoral associate, in the ribbon cutting of the parish’s new facility. 

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Almost nine years after the destruction of St. David’s School building by the forces of Hurricane Katrina, a new school and gym on the same site was dedicated on June 29th. Although it will not presently house the former thriving parochial school, it will provide an up-to-date site for parish CCD classes, youth programs and church related meetings and events. It will also house a full-day Total Community Action Head Start program fro young children and family health resources in what was one of the hardest-hit areas of the city.

The building will also provide needed space for community activities. There is also the dream of the parish with, a recently renovated church, to see more families returning to the Lower Ninth Ward and able to support a parish school, a proviso of the FEMA building commitment. Meanwhile the Josephites and St. David’s parishioners rejoice in the beautiful realization of a long effort to recover what was lost.

Father Joseph John Rimshaw, SSJ

Click here to read about Father Joseph John Rimshaw, SSJ.

Father Joseph John Rimshaw, SSJ

fatherrimshawJosephite Father Joseph John Rimshaw died on Friday, July 11 in Melbourne, Florida. He was active in ministry for his full 66 years as a priest and was 93 years old at his passing.

Father Rimshaw was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel and Frances Andrewsevich Rimshaw and was baptized in Immaculate Conception Church. He attended public and parochial schools there. Feeling called to the priesthood, he entered the Josephite minor seminary after his high school graduation in 1939 and continued at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Washington until his ordination in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in 1948.

His first Josephite assignment was at St. Peter Claver church in New Orleans followed by Incarnation and St. Luke churches in Washington, DC. His first pastorate was at Immaculate Conception Church in Bryan, Texas, where he also served as chaplain to students at Prairie View University. His last Josephite pastorate was at St. Pius V parish in Jacksonville, Florida.

In his later years Father served in the Spanish ministry in Argentina and Honduras. He was chaplain at several Florida correctional institutions and made mission appeals for the Christian Foundation for Children and the Aging as well as assisting at Our Lady of Lourdes church in Melbourne, Florida.

The Mass of Christian Burial for Father Rimshaw is offered on Thursday, July 17 at Our Lady of Lourdes church with burial following in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Palm Bay, Florida.

Funeral Arrangements for Father Joseph

Wednesday, July 16
6 p.m. 
Our Lady of Lourdes
420 E Fee Ave, Melbourne, FL 32901 

Thursday, July 17 
11 a.m. 
Funeral Mass 
 Our Lady of Lourdes
Christian Burial will be held at St. Joseph
Cemetery in Palm Bay, FL following Mass


New Chapter for the Knights of Peter Claver

Lay organization establishes first council in the Arlington Diocese

By Dave Borowski

Bishop Grant Jones, executive director of the Knights of Peter Claver Gulf Coast District, prepares to present a commendation to Grand Knight Joseph Brooks and Grand Lady Beverly Thornton.

Men in dark suits, dark ties and white shirts sat in an old St. Joseph school classroom in Alexandria last February, waiting nervously for their initiation ceremony into the Knights of Peter Claver to begin. Nearby in St. Joseph Church, women in white dresses also waited for the ceremony that would welcome them to the Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary.

The Knights of Peter Claver, a historically Black men’s Catholic lay organization, was establishing its first Council in the Arlington Diocese. It was something that parishioners like Deacon Albert Anderson and Patricia English had been working toward for some time.

The Knights of Peter Claver’s mission is “to render service to God and His holy church, render aid and assistance to the sick and disabled and promote social and intellectual association among our members.”

The Knights have approximately 300 Councils for men and Courts for women throughout North and South America.

The group was founded in 1909 in Mobile, Alabama, by three Josephite priests and four layman. The society was named for St. Peter Claver, a Spanish priest who ministered to African slaves in Colombia, South America, in the 17th century. The Knights were established in an age of segregation to give Black Catholic men the opportunity for full membership in a Catholic fraternal organization.

The new Council at St. Joseph is named Bishop Paul S. Loverde Council 398 to honor the man who was instrumental and supportive in establishing it.

Bishop Loverde joined 13 other men in the sacred initiation ceremony. The bishop chose to go through the entire initiation ceremony that is usually waived for the clergy.

After the ceremony, Josephite Father Donald Fest, St. Joseph pastor, addressed the new Knights. He told the men that he was proud of them and asked them to work to establish a junior Knights and junior Daughters program for their children and grandchildren.

“It would be a great experience for our youth,” he said.

He urged the new Knights to inspire other men to join the Council.

KnightsThe men went on to recall their reasons for joining. The answers were similar – Catholic service.

James Lightfoot is involved in a prison ministry and wanted to find additional men to help him minister to this largely forgotten population.

Deacon Steve Morello, who assists at the church, said his reason was simple. “I was asked,” he said, and added, “Service is more effective if it’s organized.”

Deacon Anderson said he is also a Knight of Columbus but joined the Knights of Peter Claver as an alternative adding, “This is not a competition.”

Father Bekeh Utietiang, pastor of St. James Church in McMechen and St. John Church in Benwood, both in West Virginia, traveled that great distance to be initiated into the Knights of Peter Claver.

James Brown came from St. Jude Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia, to be part of the historic event.

There was another common thread among the men: almost all said that Deacon Anderson was instrumental in encouraging them to join.

Like Deacon Anderson, many of the men are also Knights of Columbus, but joined the Knights of Peter Claver because of the shared experience.

Joseph Brooks, the new Grand Knight, said, “It’s a great honor,” to be asked to serve, adding that there are great people around him to help make it work.

After the initiation, the men and women gathered in the church for an establishment Mass celebrated by Bishop Loverde. In his homily, the bishop said that this establishment “marks a significant moment in this diocese.”

Officers of both the Council and the Court were installed after Mass and given the symbols of their authority and official papers. There were many thanks to go around especially to Deacon Anderson, Patricia English and Bishop Loverde. The bishop said, “I am happy to be an instrument to bring this to fruition.”

With pomp and circumstance the ceremony ended and all processed out to begin their new lives of service to the church.

Father Donald Fest, SSJ, is pastor of
St. Joseph Church in Alexandria, VA.

Article courtesy of The Catholic Herald, newspaper for the Diocese of Arlington, VA.