Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Alumni Obituaries

Fr. William Vath

Fr. William R. Vath, M.A., M.Div.,, formerly of Lafayette, died on April 6, 2017 at St. Vincent Hospital, Indianapolis. Born on May 30, 1943 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania to William and Katherine (Wasko) Vath who preceded him in death, Father lived with his parents for most of his life in Ridgway, Pennsylvania.

Educated in his early years and prepared for his First Communion by the Benedictine Sisters of St. Marys, Pennsylvania he later studied at Clarion State College earning his BA in literature. He completed his MA in literature at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio where his Mother was also an instructor. After earning his MA, Father Vath taught Composition and British Literature at Duquesne University in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

Father Vath entered St. Meinrad School of Theology to study for service in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette, Indiana, and earned his Masters of Divinity degree there. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 27, 1972. As a priest Father Vath served at St. Mary Church, Muncie, Indiana, St. Joseph Church in Covington, Indiana and most recently until his retirement in 2013, at St. Boniface Church, Lafayette.

In 1973 Father Vath was also assigned by Bishop Raymond J. Gallagher to the Ecclesiastical Tribunal of the Diocese of Lafayette, serving there in various capacities for over 40 years until his retirement.

For over 35 years Father Vath was instrumental in the Lafayette community in organizing, participating and directing public and private pro-life activities to defend the lives of the unborn. He was instrumental in providing spiritual direction to countless individuals in his priestly ministry and initiated a weekly hour of prayer at St. Elizabeth Hospital chapel that continues.

Father Vath was an avid reader and correspondent, and promoted local renewal of appreciation for the arts - most especially literature and the Catholic musical heritage including Gregorian chant. A philanthropist with his few resources, he donated to the St. Boniface School library, and to many individuals who came to him for help. He was known to give his own clothes to those in need when they approached him for help.

A supporter of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Father also adopted two at risk dogs (Emily and Bonnie), and actively encouraged others to do the same.

On his retirement in 2013, Father Vath moved to St. Augustine Home in Indianapolis where he was cared for by The Little Sisters of the Poor until his death. At St. Augustine, Father continued to live his priesthood by an active ministry of presence to those around him.