|Abbot Brian of Assumption Abbey Grew up in
St. Boniface Community
Burke, Allan. "Abbot Brian of Assumption Abbey Grew up in St. Boniface Community." Emmons County Record, 9 June 2005, 2.
Abbot Brian Wangler
Father Abbot Brian Wangler, who grew up in the St. Boniface
was one of several priests to participate in the church’s
Abbot Brian is the son of the late Valentine and Mary (Wald) Weigel,
and he attended a country school that was located three miles south
He graduated from Assumption Abbey High School at Richardson in
"While I was in high school, I spent summers on my family’s
helped out my dad," Abbot Brian said.
He said some of his memories of the St. Boniface community included
gliding through the snow in a sled to get to church and riding to
church in his parent’s car with chains on the wheels because
of the mud
"We had ungraded dirt roads, so sometimes driving across fields
better than trying the roads," Abbot Brian said.
He said after kids reached a certain age, they were allowed to
front" in the church.
"I was very excited when I was old enough to sit up front,
church seemed so big then that I worried about finding the car after
Mass," Abbot Brian said.
He said the kids from the community attended Sister School during
summer, and he remembers the fun of playing games during the breaks.
"Most of us walked at least part way home," he said. "Usually,
driving in our direction would pick us up and give us a ride the
of the way."
The first two St. Boniface priests Abbot Brian remembers are the
Father Lawrence Widmann and Father John Bacevicius.
"Father Lawrence gave his sermons in German," Abbot Brian
"I have the most memories from my childhood of Father John.
He had a
reputation for driving fast and taking chances. He never worried
frightened about driving in blizzards and summer storms. He was
of nothing. Father John was a lovable priest, a lovable person.
just his nature to accept people, and you couldn’t help but
Abbot Brian recalled.
After graduating from high school, Abbot Brian attended two years
college at Assumption Abbey.
"I got the feeling that I should join the monastery,"
he said. "It was
a feeling that I couldn’t ignore and be at peace. I decided
I had to
try the religious life to be sure the feeling was real, and I would
have felt guilty if I had not tried it."
Having finished two years of college, Abbot Brian entered the monastery
on June 23, 1963, as a brother in the Order of St. Benedict.
"Every man in the monastery is a monk, which is a way of life,"
explained. "I am still a monk but I decided to also become
priest and have the option of being a diocesan priest or being part
He said as a Benedictine monk, he can do "all kinds of things"
from being a parish priest. The opportunities include such pursuits
teaching, working at the abbey in a variety of roles and performing
After completing his novitiate in July of 1964, he attended St.
University in Collegeville, Minn., where he completed his theological
studies. He was ordained to the priesthood on August 2, 1969, and
graduated from St. Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana in 1970.
served as a recruiter for the abbey’s college until it was
From January of 1971 to August of 1972, Father Brian served as
at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Devils Lake. He returned
abbey as Director of Formations (recruiting new brothers or priests).
He was then named Prior (second in command) of Assumption Abbey.
He left the abbey from 1975-78 to earn a Master’s of Art Degree
Catholic Spirituality from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa.
returned to the abbey as Director of Formations before serving as
pastor of St. Mary’s Church at Richardton from 1978-83.
On May 28, 2004, Father Brian was elected Abbot of Assumption Abbey
the abbey’s monks in final vows. As Abbot, he is the administrator
"My desk is where the buck stops," he joked.
Abbot Brian said he is responsible for the "overall spiritual
well-being" of the abbey’s membership and of the community
as a whole. "I help make sure all of us at the abbey are living
the way we should and that we are periodically evaluating our lives,"
Reprinted with permission of the Emmons County Record.