This web site is a memorial to those individuals who were passionate about the reform of the
Roman Catholic liturgy as set forth in Sacrosanctum Concilium (the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy)
and who now, in eternal life, worship the God whom they served in this life.

Leland “Lee” Nagel

Leland “Lee” Nagel
Feb. 19, 1948 — May 26, 2014

Leland “Lee” Nagel, 66, who served the Diocese of Green Bay as director of Total Catholic Education for more than 15 years, died in his sleep May 26. When he was hired for his position in 1990, Nagel said he took the post guided by faith.

“The day of my last interview, Bishop (Adam) Maida was named archbishop of Detroit,” Nagel told The Compass in 2005, the year he resigned. “I took a job not knowing who my boss would be, but I really felt called. It was meant to be.”

This example of Nagel’s reliance on faith guided his life and vocation as a Catholic educator, author, speaker and storyteller, say friends and colleagues from the Diocese of Green Bay.

“Lee was keenly aware of the workings, callings and gentle promptings of the spirit in his life,” said Susan Perrault, a longtime personal friend of Nagel and former diocesan co-worker. “He never believed in coincidences. He always believed coincidences were evidence of the Spirit at work among us.”

Nagel was “greatly loved by so many people,” added Perrault. “He made such deep relationships, all based in faith that it’s just amazing to see the love and care. He was a walking example of evangelization in all that he said and did.”

Deacon Michael Vincent, director of faith formation at Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Green Bay, was best friends with Nagel. According to Deacon Vincent, Nagel brought many gifts and talents to his ministry.

“He was a storyteller like I have never met before and could add a caliber of greatness to his stories that you would remember them forever,” said Deacon Vincent. “He was a master of hospitality. We could sit at a table for hours over good food, some wine and laughter and just live life well. But his ultimate gift was his sense of a servant heart. If he could help you in any way he would.”

For example, he said Nagel would fly into Green Bay from Washington, D.C., for a few days to help prepare meals for cooking events at Ss. Peter and Paul. Nagel, who was Deacon Vincent’s spiritual mentor for 12 years, “was selfless to a fault. … All he ever wanted for anyone was to get them to our heavenly Father. He was my best friend and I wouldn’t be where I am today without him — his guidance, his love, his strength, his support.”

“We read in the Gospel of St. John that Jesus came to bring us life, life to the full. Lee Nagel lived life to the full, with passion and joy and good humor,” said Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Robert Morneau. “He was dedicated to the Gospel and spent his energy in doing the work of evangelization, sharing the good news of Jesus. Lee was a storyteller, a friend to many and graced Zorba. He will be missed and mourned by many.”

“I was not surprised that when Lee left the diocese, he was picked up by the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership,” said Bishop Emeritus Robert Banks, who worked with Nagel for more than 12 years. “He had the gift for helping people to see and feel the ‘good news’ as truly good news in their own lives.”

Dr. Joe Bound, who succeeded Nagel as director of education for the Green Bay Diocese, said Nagel was “a man of faith and spirituality.”

“He understood peoples’ longing for God and knew various ways to reach people through stories,” said Bound. “He definitely knew how to plan major events, whether it was The Gathering here in the diocese in years past or the national conference for National Conference of Catechetical Leadership. He also was a very popular retreat leader or day of reflection presenter. He will be missed not only in the diocese, but also nationally.”

Nagel was born to Leo and Ann Nagel on Feb. 19, 1948, in Bismarck, N.D. He attended Catholic schools and completed his bachelor of arts degree in elementary education from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona, and a master of arts degree in elementary education and teaching from Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D. He also completed post-graduate studies in leadership and human behavior at the United States (Alliant) International University, Alhambra, Calif.

After beginning his career as a grade school teacher, Nagel went on to serve as admissions director at the University of Mary in Bismarck for 15 years. He was then hired as Green Bay diocesan director of Total Catholic Education, serving as superintendent of schools and director of adult faith formation, youth ministry and catechesis.

During his 15 years in Green Bay, Nagel was remembered for his “special skill for blending prayer, song, story and liturgical environment into a worship experience that people felt compelled to participate in,” according to a Compass article in 2005.

His emphasis on hospitality was another skill he possessed, his staff told The Compass in 2005.

“Nagel continually stressed to his staff and others the importance of living as Jesus did, particularly by being fully present to and welcoming of others,” according to The Compass article. “Nagel modeled that behavior at every meeting, every conference, and every contact he had, staff said.”

Nagel resigned as director of education to serve as a national consultant for RCL Benziger, a publisher of parish catechetical materials. On July 1, 2007, he was appointed as executive director of the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership (NCCL), a position he held at the time of his death.

Nagel was a gifted retreat leader and author. His books include: “Living for the Lord,” “Love Beyond All Telling,” “Inspired by the Spirit” and “Journey of Faith.” He was also a popular national speaker on topics relating to Catholic schools and religious education.

When he resigned, Nagel reflected on his time in Green Bay, calling them “good years.”

“I’ve been blessed. I’ve always been impressed with the commitment to education in this diocese,” he said. “I’m always in awe and will continue to be in awe of the hours and hours donated by staff and volunteers. There are many wonderful people who care. Stewardship is alive in so many ways.”

Nagel is survived by a sister, Colleen Erba, and her husband, Francis; brother, Galen and his wife, Marleen Bye; nieces, Kyla, Kyri, Krista, Anna Marie; and nephew, Joseph.

A visitation, followed by the funeral Mass, was held Tuesday, June 3, at Resurrection Church, Allouez. Bishops Robert Morneau and Robert Banks officiated and Deacons Mike Vincent and Tom Mahoney assisted. Burial was at St. Joseph Church Cemetery, Champion.

Tribute prepared by The Compass, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Greenbay.