Edward Davis-Biography(Archives)

Father Ed Davis had been a priest for nine years before his arrival in Africa as a missioner. After his ordination to priesthood in 1961, Maryknoll assigned Father Davis to its Promotion Department. His work was to recruit young men to become Maryknoll priests and Brothers and to motivate people to share in Maryknoll's missionary work by their prayers and sacrifices. This work brought him into contact with the United States Church in the extensive areas covered by the promotion houses of Cleveland and Philadelphia and in the state of Connecticut. From 1963 to 1966, Father Davis was the Personnel Director of all the lay employees of the Maryknoll Society.

In 1970, Father Davis was assigned to Tanzania and, after language school, began pastoral work in the diocese of Shinyanga where he spent 13 of 17 years, most of that time in the rural parish mission of Mwamapalala. In 1987, Father Davis was asked to return to the States and to the work of the development department (formerly the promotion department). He was able to tell the people to whom he was sent with Maryknoll's mission message: "For 17 years, I have worked as a priest in Africa. For 17 years. I have lived in the vestibule of Heaven. Africa and my work there were not Heaven, of course, but those years have been as close to Heaven as one can get."

One States-side assignment led to another and Father Davis served as the Center Coordinator at the Maryknoll Headquarters and the Assistant Director of St. Teresa's Residence, the facility for infirm and senior Maryknoll priests and Brothers. Father Davis also spent two years working on the project to systematize the archival papers of Maryknoll' s Founders.

He returned to work in Tanzania in the Fall of 2000, and his present "vestibule of Heaven" is the parish of St. Bakhita, Maryknoll's urban parish in Dar Es Salaam, where he is the pastor.

Ed Schoellman-Biography

Ed Schoellman recently returned to Africa. In semi-retirement he continues to accompany the people of Shinyanga with whom he worked for many years..

Donald Sybertz-Biography

Father Donald F. Sybertz was born July 23, 1928, in North Weymouth, Massachusetts, the son of Frank W. and Helen Bronder Sybertz. He attended Bicknell School and Weymouth High School, and earned an A.B. in economics from Boston College, before entering Maryknoll in 1950. 

After his ordination in 1955, he was assigned to Busanda Parish in Shinyanga Diocese, Tanzania. Then he served in Nassa Parish and after one year went to Kilulu Parish in the plains region of northern Tanzania. Father Sybertz built the first home there to provide shelter and care for aged persons lacking families and housing. He was later assigned to Gula Parish, a large sprawling parish undergoing expansion of people and villages. Eventually the parish was divided into several parishes and Father Sybertz moved from Gula to Mwanhuzi (Meatu) and developed that center into a separate parish. 

Over the years, Father Sybertz has been one of the Maryknollers most proficient in the Sukuma language. His facility in the language and interest in the local culture and how to inculturate Christianity in that culture and among the Sukuma People led him into a continuing study of how to relate Scripture and the African proverbs, wisdom sayings, stories and parables of the people. This study has resulted in recent years in the publication of several books in Swahili as evangelization aids for the Tanzanian Church and a major book in English called Towards An African Narrative Theology

Father Sybertz, who has spent his entire missionary career in Tanzania, presently resides in Ndoleleji Parish where he facilitates a Sukuma Research Team. He continues to serve part-time in the neighboring Mwanhuzi Parish. Father Sybertz retired in the Africa Region on January 31, 2001, while continuing to work full time in Maryknoll’s inculturation and evangelization apostolate. His hobbies include tennis. He is a dyed in the wool Boston Red Sox fan.

Daniel Ohmann-Biography

Father Daniel Francis Ohmann was born July 6, 1927, in Greenwald, Minnesota, in the Diocese of St. Cloud, the son of John and Elizabeth Feneis Ohmann. He is one of eight children; his sister, Elizabeth, is a Franciscan nun. He attended District 51 grammar school in Greenwald, at that time taught by Benedictine nuns, and Melrose Public High School before entering the army in 1945. Following his discharge, Father Ohmann studied math and music for three years at St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota, before entering Maryknoll in 1949.

After his ordination on June 11, 1955, Father Ohmann was assigned to do promotional and fund-raising work in the United States, serving as director of the Minneapolis Development House from 1958 to 1964. In 1964 he was assigned to the Maryknoll Mission Region of Tanzania where he was named Pastor of the Ndoleleji Catholic Church, a parish about the size of Stearns County, Minnesota, containing 27 villages of roughly 350 families each. Father Ohmann also trained Church leaders for these villages and was active in developing hospitals, clinics and agricultural projects. Two Ndoleleji boys have been ordained priests for the Shinyanga Diocese. A highlight of his years at Ndoleleji was when two brothers, Jackie and Ruby, and a cousin, Paul Wenner, from Cold Spring, Minnesota, came to erect windmills for the village drinking-water supply.

When asked what he would consider the high point of his mission career, he answered, “No question that it was the three years in the Rukole Refugee Camp with Rwandese and Burundian Refugees. There you met first hand how good people can be, and, how cruel people can be to one another, and experience difficulties of people which only Faith and Sacraments can help. If all could experience some of the joys and peace our priesthood gave to me and the refugees, our seminaries and convents would be filled.”

Since 1997 Father Ohmann has been working with the Watatulu tribe in the Diocese of Shinyanga. Living in a tent and speaking to any who will listen, Fr. Ohmann is planting the first seeds of the gospel in this remote bush country.

Hung Minh Dinh-Biography

Maryknoll, N.Y. – Hung Minh Dinh, M.M., of Garden Grove, Calif., was ordained to the priesthood on May 31, 2008  in Ossining, N.Y., by His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York.

Hung was born in Hue, Vietnam on August 1, 1966. In Vietnam, Dinh worked in Can Gio Parish in a small, poor village outside Saigon (1989-92).There he served as choir director and catechist, and tutored the children in math and reading as well as giving them the basic knowledge they would need to function in the city. He credits his time in Can Gio as contributing to his call to mission. “I had a chance to live with the poorest people who had only one meal per day and had no access to what was happening in the rest of the world,” he said. “When I came to the United States where I had everything, I realized I wanted to spend my whole life serving the poor.”

 Hung (baptised Michael) entered St. Joseph Major Seminar in the Diocese of Saigon in 1987 and received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Ho Chi Minh City University of Science (1989). He joined Maryknoll in 1998. He holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Xavier University with majors in philosophy and religious studies (2002) and earned a Master of Divinity degree from Catholic Theological Union (2008), both in Chicago, Ill. He has also taken courses at MIASMU in Africa during his Formation program with Maryknoll.

 Hung Minh Dinh first experienced the Maryknoll missions as a seminarian in overseas training in Mwanza, Tanzania.

Following studies in the Swahili language, he did pastoral work in the urban Transfiguration Parish in Mwanza, Tanzania. During that time he also accompanied a Maryknoll priest in his work in rural Ndoleleji Parish, ministering to the Watuturu people.

"One day in my parish, (in California) I picked up MARYKNOLL magazine," says Hung, now 40. "It had an article about Father Bob McCahill living a simple life in Bangladesh and helping the poorest people, regardless of their religion. I liked that." 

  Hung was assigned to the Maryknoll Africa Region beginning in early 2009 and has been assigned once again to continue his ministry with the Watuturu people but now as their priest .