Monsignor Joseph Senger

March 19, 1929-Nov. 9, 2020

RUGBY–Mons ignor

Joseph Senger, 91, a priest

of the Fargo Diocese of

North Dakota, died Nov.

9, 2020, in a Minot hospital. Since his retirement

from active priesthood in

2000, he continued to

maintain a variety of activities in Minot where he

lived until his death. He

spent the last three and a

half years as a resident of

Somerset Court, saying

Mass there daily.

Joseph Phillip Senger

was born March 19, 1929,

at Orrin, ND, a son of

Joseph and Elizabeth

(Thomas) Senger. He liked

telling people that his actual birthplace was at

Kandel, ND. But the

town’s name was changed

to Orrin. Orrin and the

farm life he grew up in became the subject of countless church homilies he

offered later as a priest.

He was proud of Orrin

and of his Germans from

Russia heritage. The latter

enhanced his language

skills that later became

useful during a stretch he

spent in Europe.

His early education was

at Balta, a community

near Orrin. While very

young, he decided that he

wanted to be a priest. So

his parents sent him to

Assumption Abbey in

Richardton, ND. He graduated from there in

1946. He attended St.

John’s University in Collegeville for two years. He

went to St. Paul Seminary

in St. Paul, Mn., for his

last two years of college

and four more years of

seminary training. He was

ordained a priest on June

13, 1954, at St. Mary’s

Cathedral in Fargo, ND.

His first assignment was

as pastor at St. Mark’s

Parish in Bottineau, ND.

Two years later he was

assigned to serve as secretary to Archbishop

Aloisius Muench, then of

Fargo, who had been

chosen by Pope Pius XII

as the apostolic nuncio to

Germany. The pair lived

at the embassy in Bonn,

Germany. Father Senger

also served as a chaplain

at an American military

unit. He spent almost four

years in Germany and

another year and a half in

Rome after Muench was

named a cardinal. Father

Senger met Pope Pius XII,

Pope John XXIII, Pope

Paul VI when he was still

a cardinal, and Pope John

Paul II.

In 1960 he returned to

North Dakota, eager to become a pastor. He

couldn’t see himself continuing as a professional

priest in Rome. His first

assignment was as pastor

of St. Arnold’s Parish in

Milnor and St. Vincent’s

Parish in Stirum which

also served Gwinner. Successive assignments were

at St. Mary’s Parish in

Knox and St. Ann’s in

Fillmore, St. Mary’s in

Grand Forks, and, from

July 1985 to July 2000

when he retired, as pastor

at St. Cecilia’s in Velva

and Sts. Peter and Paul’s

Parish in Karlsruhe. He

was appointed a monsignor in 2000 by Pope John

Paul II.

In addition to his work

as a pastor, he was director of the Propagation of

the Faith for forty years in

the Fargo Diocese, deanery director of vocations,

director of religious education at St. James Education Center in Grand

Forks, dean of Deanery II

and Deanery VII. He

maintained a prison ministry for the North Dakota

Council of Churches and

served on the College of

Consulters for the Fargo

Diocese. He was a spiritual director for Marriage

Encounter, Search and

Cursillo. He served as

state spiritual director for

the Catholic Order of

Foresters and the Catholic

Daughters of the Americas. After retirement, he

was a substitute pastor in

many parishes, including

Minot Air Force Base. He

also served as a chaplain

at Trinity Hospital in


He visited mission stations in Kenya, Africa,

Guatemala, Venezuela,

Bolivia and Honduras.

He was a member of the

Foresters, and a Fourth

Degree member of the

Knights of Columbus.

Survivors: sisters,

Christine Axtmann and

Jenny Lemer, and brother,

Nick Senger and his wife

Bernie, all of Rugby.

He was preceded in

death by his parents;

brothers, Anton, Edward,

Pete and infant Adam;

sister, Elizabeth Burgard;

sisters-in-law, Regarda

Senger and Julia Senger;

brothers-in-law, Tom

Burgard, Peter Lemer and

Fred Axtmann.

Visitation: Wednesday,

November 18, 2020, from

noon until 2 pm at

T h o m p s o n – L a r s o n

Funeral Home, Minot, and

from 5 until 7 pm at St.

Therese of Little Flower

Catholic Church, Rugby,

ND with a vigil at 7 in the

church. Visitation will

also take place from 10

am until noon on Thursday, November 19, 2020

at the church.

Mass of Christian

Burial: Due to the Corona

Virus/Covin-19 pandemic,

there will be a Funeral

Mass on Thursday at 1

pm for family and fellow

priests at St. Therese of

Little Flower Catholic

Church, Rugby, ND.

The service will be

live-streamed and available to view at be accessed by going to

Y o u T u b e h t t p s : / /

youtube.com/ channel/

U C x B 6


Graveside Service:

Thursday, November 19,

2020, 3:30 pm, Sacred

Heart Catholic Cemetery,


Memorials are preferred

to St. Therese the Little

Flower church at Rugby.

Thompson-Larson Funeral Home at Minot completed funeral arrangements.