Msgr. Melvern Wiese ‘always a gentleman, always a priest’
August 23, 2021
Msgr. Melvern Wiese, an archdiocesan priest for 64 years, has been lauded as a man who was as big of heart as he was in stature, a true gentleman.
Msgr. Wiese died Aug. 11 at Franciscan Healthcare in West Point. He was 90.
“He treated everyone with kindness and gentleness,” said retired Father Gerald Gonderinger, a friend and the homilist at Msgr. Wiese’s funeral, which was held Aug. 19 at Ss. Cyril and Methodius Church in Clarkson with interment at Clarkson Catholic Cemetery.
Msgr. Wiese, a Howells native, was ordained by Archbishop Gerald T. Bergan in 1957 and was named a monsignor in 2006. He served in about a dozen parishes across the archdiocese and taught theology, and some Latin, to students in five high schools.
“He was not a flashy person,” said Father Gonderinger, “but he got along well with everyone.”
He was “always a gentleman, always a priest.”
During their nearly 15 years of friendship, “I never saw him angry. … I never ran into anyone who was upset with him,” Father Gonderinger said.
He loved being around people, his friend said. “He could carry on a conversation with anyone.”
Early in his priesthood, Msgr. Wiese served as assistant pastor at St. Ludger Parish from 1957 to 1962; St. Philip Neri in Omaha from 1962 to 1966; St. Bernadette in Bellevue from 1966 to 1968; St. Peter in Omaha in 1968; and St. Mary in Hubbard from 1968 to 1969.
As pastor, he served at St. John the Baptist Parish in Petersburg from 1969 to 1973; St. Peter de Alcántara in Ewing from 1973 to 1975; St. Ludger in Creighton from 1975 to 1986; St. Wenceslaus in Dodge and from 1986 to 1997; Sacred Heart Mission in Olean from 1997 to 1999; St. Mary in Leigh from 1999 to 2007; and Ss. Cyril and Methodius from 2007 until his retirement later that year, when he became chaplain at St. Joseph’s Retirement Community in West Point.
He also taught part time at the former St. Ludger High School in Creighton, the former Notre Dame Academy and Archbishop Ryan High School in Omaha, the former Sacred Heart High School in Emerson and St. Mary School in O’Neill.
Msgr. Wiese attended Conception Seminary in Conception, Missouri, before finishing studies at the former Mount St. Bernard Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa.
He earned a master’s degree in divinity from Creighton University in Omaha in 1976.
Msgr. Wiese was preceded in death by his parents, Ben and Eleanor Wiese; and brother, Wilfred Wiese. Survivors include brother and sister-in-law, Maynard and Janet Wiese of Columbus; sister and brother-in-law, Dianne and Dennis Nadrchal of Fremont; sister-in-law, Marjorie Wiese of Howells; and many nieces and nephews.