Paul Philibert, OP
December 30, 1936 - April 14, 2016
Dominican Fr. Paul Philibert, OP, died April 14, 2016, in St. Louis. Fr. Paul had been serving as a senior fellow at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis. He earlier was the third provincial of the Dominican Friars Province of St. Martin de Porres.
Paul was born in Baltimore on December 30, 1936, entered the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) in 1956, professed solemn vows in 1960 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1963. He received a bachelor's degree in humanities from Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1958, and advanced degrees in theology from the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., Faculté Catholique de Lyon, France, and Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C.
Fr. Paul was a lecturer, professor or in the administration at several schools including Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut; Providence College; St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, Maryland.; the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.; and Dominican School of Theology and Philosophy in Berkeley, California. He also served on the staff for continuing education for the Archdiocese of Toronto.
Fr. Paul served as director of the Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. He was prior of St. Dominic Priory in St. Louis and distinguished visiting professor of Church and society at Aquinas Institute, 2000-03. He was a theologian in residence and professor at Mepkin Abbey, Moncks Corner, South Carolina; the University of Fribourg in Fribourg, Switzerland; the Rice School for Pastoral Ministry in Arcadia, Florida; the Collegeville Institute, Collegeville, Minnesota. He was resident scholar in North Carolina and a chaplain in Texas. He became senior fellow at Aquinas Institute in St. Louis in 2015.
A longtime contributor to Celebration, Fr. Paul provided readers with timely and substantial essays on theological and liturgical themes relating to the reforms advanced by the Second Vatican Council. His published works explored priestly spirituality, the role of the laity, changes in religious life, and Christian formation. He was recognized for his careful scholarship, as a teacher, preacher and administrator, devoted to the church and to ministry at many levels.
Fluent in French, Fr. Philibert did translations for English editions of works by M.D. Chenu and Yves Congar, Dominicans who had a major impact on Vatican II. His reputation as well-grounded in the vision of the Council led to an invitation from the bishop of Limerick, Ireland, to provide a keynote address that helped shape the preparation period for a diocesan-wide synod held in the spring of 2015, the first synod in 70 years for the Irish church. Fr. Philibert’s address was a showcase of his comprehensive understanding of the implications of the council’s reforms for the local church.