On January 19, 2024, Oblates bade farewell to Fr. Clarence ZACHMAN, OMI, the oldest Oblate in the world.

Celebrating his 103rd birthday on November 2, 2023, at the Benedictine Living Center in Belleville, IL, Fr. Clarence peacefully answered the divine call to join Jesus Christ on a new pilgrimage.

Reflecting on the passing of the first four Oblates in 1828, St. Eugene de Mazenod wrote: “Now we have four in Heaven; this is already a nice community… We are attached to them by the bonds of a particular charity; they are still our brothers, and we are theirs; their prayers, the love which they keep for us, will draw us one day to them.”

Fr. Clarence, ordained in 1948, left an unforgettable mark in ministerial positions, from treasurer and teacher to a 19-year stint as a military chaplain in the United States Air Force. His pilgrimage of dedication and service concluded at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.

To all he encountered, Fr. Clarence offered a simple yet profound message: “God loves you, and so do I.” Today, as we honor his legacy, let us remember a life lived in devotion, spreading love and kindness.

Surrounding Fr. Zachman are his brother Oblates: (front row, L-R) Allen Maes, Michael Powell, John Madigan, Elvis Mwamba, Fr. Clarence, Ron Harrer, Norm Volk. (Back row, L-R): Dale Schlitt, Mark Dean, Jim Fee, Paul Wightman, Jim Allen, George Knab, Harold Fisher, Clyde Rausch, David Kalert, Mike Hussey.