Fr. Bede Fitzpatrick ’43, OFM
8 Things to Know About Fr. Bede On the Occasion of His Farewell Party | 27 July 2013
1. Fr. Bede is from Ellicottville, N.Y. in the USA.
2. Fr. Bede he is a member of the Notre Dame Class of 1943. This means he has been a Notre Dame alumnus for over 70 years.
3. Fr. Bede served in Japan from 1958 until 2013. This is 55 years but he likes to count the three years he spent in the Pacific during WWII “heading toward Japan” which brings the total to 58 years. He first came to Japan in September 1945. He says that he “felt like Xavier” as he approached Kyushu. His role in 1945 was to help bring Occupation Forces into Japan. Notably, Fr. Bede stayed on a beach at Iwo Jima during a medical run.
4. In 1963, the Holy Name Province (HNP) assigned Fr. Bede to open the Franciscan Chapel Center in Roppongi.
5. Fr. Bede was the first rector of the Franciscan Chapel Center.
6. In 1971 Fr. Bede facilitated the introduction of Marriage Encounter in Japan.
7. Fr. Bede spent 17 years posted to the Catholic Church in Kiryu City, Gunma Prefecture Japan.
8. Beginning in the late 1960s Fr. Bede along with Fr. Campion Lally, and Fr. Lucian Mulhern quietly began playing a role in the Cold War by helping foreigners in Tokyo who were originally from communist countries to defect: Ambassadors, engineers, musicians and students all came to the Franciscan Chapel Center in need of assistance and were given hospitality. Fr. Bede is especially credited by Fr. William DiBiase for his role in building an environment at the FCC that made this very sensitive work possible.
For more information about Fr. Bede’s life in Japan, please follow this link to a great article in the National Catholic Register.