Father Richard led Columban Fathers worldwide

Columban Father Richard Conrad Steinhilber is being remembered for roles big and small.

He led the Columban Fathers throughout the world during challenging times and served as a magazine editor for 20 years, yet also served people on a personal level in the archdiocese through Worldwide Marriage Encounter, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and the Omaha Senate of Priests.

Father Richard died April 17 at age 93, according to the Columban Fathers.

A private funeral Mass was held April 21 at St. Mary Church in Bellevue with burial at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Omaha.

A native of Buffalo, New York, Father Richard studied canon law at Gregorian University in Rome and was ordained in 1951 at St. Columbanus Parish in Chicago.

From 1956 to 1960, he served as a faculty member and eventually a dean at St. Columbans Major Seminary in Milton, Massachusetts.

In 1960, Father Richard moved to Bellevue and became regional vocations director and a member of the director’s council. In 1967 he became director of the U.S. region, and in 1970 was elected superior general.

His six-year term in charge of the Columbans was a challenging time for the world, the church and the religious order, according to a written tribute by the Columban Fathers. But Father Richard “faced these challenges with integrity, fidelity, and commitment in guiding the society during that difficult period.”

In 1977, he was appointed vice-director of the U.S. region, as well as regional promotion director and regional seminary coordinator.

In 1982, he served as a delegate to the Columbans’ general chapter, and in 1983 became a regional council member.

From 1980 to 2000, Father Richard was editor of the Columban Mission Magazine, which received numerous awards under his leadership, his fellow Columbans said.

After retiring in 2001 he continued to serve the mission through written correspondence with donors.

Father Richard’s survivors include 14 nieces and nephews, close friends in the Omaha area and the Columban Fathers community.

Memorials may be directed to the Columban Fathers at

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