April 4, 2014
Father Barnabas Radke: 1934-2014
Father Barnabas Radke, a priest of the Diocese of Amarillo, passed away April 4 after a brief illness. He was 80 years old.
Mass was celebrated April 9, St. Mary’s Cathedral, with Bishop Patrick J. Zurek as celebrant. Father Francisco Perez, JCL, Vicar General of the Diocese of Amarillo and pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Church, Pampa, was the homilist. Priests of the Diocese of Amarillo concelebrated.
Robert Oliver Radke was born in Cleveland, Ohio on Feb. 7, 1934, raised a non-Catholic with a Lutheran emphasis. After completing high school, he decided to join the Navy in 1951. It was during his military service that he met his Godfather, Edward Arnold.
Shortly after that meeting, Radke joined the Catholic Church and was baptized on April 4, 1953 at St. Rita’s Church in San Diego. He would receive the Sacrament of Confirmation less than a month later, on May 1, at St. Joseph’s Cathedral, also in San Diego.
After the completion of his military obligation, Radke felt the desire to become a priest and became fascinated with the Benedictines. In 1954, he was admitted to Immaculate Conception Diocesan Seminary in El Cajon, Calif. After additional discernment, Radke felt a deeper calling to religious life and was transferred and accepted as a postulant at the Congregation of the Sacred Heart in Great Barrington, Ill. It was in 1964 with this congregation that Radke received his habit and also the name of Barnabas.
Further discernment led Radke to desire marriage and on Nov. 25, 1965, he and Patricia Kay Walsh were united in marriage. But the discernment to religious life was far from over.
In 1987, Radke was approached by his pastor at Holy Angels Church in Globe, Az., who along with a number of women religious encouraged him to pursue a vocation as a Permanent Deacon. The encouragement became reality on June 11, 1989, when Radke was ordained a Deacon for the Diocese of Tucson by then-Bishop Manuel Duran Moreno. Deacon Radke’s assignments in Arizona included stints at Holy Angels Church in Globe; St. Helen’s Mission in Oracle; Blessed Sacrament Church in Mammouth; and, St. Francis de Sales Mission in Maricopa. He was also involved with Prison Ministry and Food Bank Ministry. He also served a term as President of the Deacon Council.
After 38 years of marriage, Patricia Radke passed away in 2003. Three years later, Deacon Radke moved to the Diocese of Amarillo, settling in Pampa to be closer to his family there. While in Pampa, he was assigned to St. Vincent de Paul Church and School. In 2007, following a period of discernment, then-Bishop John W. Yanta accepted Deacon Radke as a candidate for the priesthood for the Diocese of Amarillo. He entered Assumption Seminary in San Antonio in September 2007.
Deacon Radke was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Amarillo on Feb. 21,2009 by Bishop Patrick J. Zurek at St. Laurence Cathedral (now St. Laurence Church), Amarillo. Shortly after his ordination, Father Radke was assigned to Sacred Heart Church, White Deer. Subsequent assignments included St. Francis of Assisi Church, Amarillo. He was also involved in Hospital and Prison Ministries. At the time of his passing, Father Radke was parochial vicar at St. Hyacinth’s Church, Amarillo; and, Immaculate Conception Church, Vega.
He was preceded in death by his bride, Patsy Radke; and, his parents, Alexander and Myrtle Radke.
Survivors include two daughters, Katherine Wariner and her husband Jamie and Suzanne Jones and her husband Clint; two sons, Alexander Radke and his wife Elizabeth and Barnabas Radke; a sister, Jeanie Reynolds of West Lake, Ohio; and 11 grandchildren, Greg Wariner, Kylee McLeland, Joshua Radke, Zachary Radke, Robert Radke, Dinah Radke, Joseph Radke, Jake Jones, Myrannda Bradford, Kelby Jones and CJ Jones.