Fr. Anthony Zimmerman (1918-2006)

Anthony Zimmerman
by Johann Schubert
May 19, 2006
Reproduced with Permission

"Behold, I make all things anew....It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water without price from the fountain of the water of life. He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I shall be his God and he shall be my son."

A message from Father Johann Schubert, a long-time friend of Father Zimmerman:

Dear Relatives, Friends of Father Anthony Zimmerman,

The faithful laborer in the vineyard of the Lord has been called to receive his reward!

Last Friday evening at about 6:30, May 19th, Father Zimmerman, 88 years of age, breathed his last. For the previous ten days he seems to have felt that the end was coming. Although he was still celebrating Mass every morning in his apartment and working on the computer for several hours a day, he begged me to come and anoint him once more on Friday, May 12th. I had anointed him three times before and every time he felt again somewhat stronger. This happened again on May 12th. He got up, said Mass and worked on the computer for most of the day.

But from Tuesday, May 16th on he could no longer get up. His private nurse, Dr. Ishizaki, wanted to have him taken to the hospital, but he pleaded with her to let him stay at home.

He showed a good appetite to the last day when he asked for his special soup at lunch. When Dr. Ishizaki went down to her clinic at four in the afternoon, he told her that he felt O.K. But when she returned to the apartment at 7 p.m. as usual, she found him lying quietly on his bed. He most likely had passed away a little earlier.

That night, his body was taken to the funeral chapel of Nagoya Cathedral. The wake was held there on Sunday evening, and the funeral and the cremation took place at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 22nd. [Webmaster note: cremation is the norm in Japan, where space is at a premium.]

The funeral was presided by the pastor of the cathedral, and seven priests concelebrated. Some of the priests were former students of Father Zimmerman when he was teaching moral theology in the Divine Word Seminary (Techny, Illinois, USA) in the Sixties and Seventies. Another forty persons, members of the lay congregation of catechists, some sisters and other acquaintances were present at the wake and funeral. Dr. Ishizaki, two other ladies and I accompanied his coffin to the crematory.

We all felt relieved that he did not have to undergo a lengthy hospital stay and a protracted agony. During the last weeks he repeatedly expressed his gratitude to Dr. Ishizaki for taking such good care of him in their home. He told her that he was one of the happiest priests during the past 23 years she took care of him.

I got to know Father Zimmerman as early as in 1958 when I came to Techny as an exchange seminarian from Germany.

He taught our class at Techny before he returned to his teaching task in Nagoya. I was sent to Japan in 1963 and we kept on good terms throughout all the years. We went out to dinner once in a while, and had many intimate conversations, especially during the last five years.

I am now half retired, but still acting rector of the Arnoldus-Heim, a retirement home for SVD's, in Tajimy city, twenty miles north of Nagoya. If I can be of any further assistance to you, my address and e-mail are included with this note.

Sincerely yours, Father Johann Schubert, SVD and Dr. Ishizaki

Father Johann Schubert,
SVD Arnoldus-Heim,
Midorigaoka 38,
Tajimi-city, Japan 507-0021
Tel 81-572-22-0700,
Fax 81-572-22-5276;

Dear Friends,

Fr. Anthony Zimmerman was a dear friend, a great priest, an enthusiastic promoter of Humanae Vitae and NFP, and a zealous teacher-sharer who worked right up to the end of his life. Fr. Zimmerman WAS and IS and always WILL BE a gift to the Church, leaving behind his writings and his missionary zeal. May his example inspire all members of the Body of Christ to assist us in our efforts.

His books and writings can be viewed at Click on Zimmerman Library at top right corner of main page.

Editor: Fr. Jerry Novotny, OMI