When word got out that Fr. Bernardin (Bernie) Schneider, OFM, was in danger of death, fervent prayers from hearts filled with gratitude for all he had meant to them filled his last hours on earth. Fr. Bernie died in Japan on Jan. 8, 2015, at the age of 97.
Bernie was a legend, respected around the world for translating the Bible from the original Greek and Hebrew into a critical annotated Japanese edition. The impact of the translation in evangelization cannot be measured; he made the word of God alive and meaningful to the hearts and lives of many Japanese people.
Fr. Bernardin’s wake and funeral took place at St. Anthony Seminary in Tokyo on Jan. 12 and 13. The small church where Bernie had spent so many long hours in prayer was filled to overflowing at his wake. Fr. Michael Yuzawa, his guardian, conducted the liturgy.
The wake included a series of scripture readings with a meditation, hymn and prayer for each and concluded with a reverent offering of flowers in the Japanese tradition. On Jan. 24, Fr. Ric Schneider, OFM, Bernie’s brother and the youngest of 11 siblings, presided at a memorial Mass at St. Anthony Shrine Chapel in Cincinnati. “He was a great brother of mine, a wonderful friar and a phenomenal scholar. There were so many areas in which he excelled. He was a man of deep faith and obedience,” said Fr. Ric.
May you rest in the loving arms of the Lord, Fr. Bernie. We miss you.
Photo: Pope John Paul II meets the four Schneider brothers, all Franciscan priests: Aquinas, Bernardin, Ric, and Chris