Rev. Bernard Joseph. M. Menge

Third Pastor, 1881-1897

Father Menge was born on August 28, 1831 in Osnabrück, Westphalia, Germany. He came to American at the age of 17 and studied for a brief period in Somerset, Ohio and Bardstown, Kentucky, before arriving at St. Mary’s Seminary (now Mount St. Mary’s of the West) in Price Hill on the west side of Cincinnati. Ordained on April 17, 1858, his first assignment was at the former St. Augustine Church on Bank Street in the West End, where he remain for 12 years. He subsequently served briefly at Old St. Mary’s, then at St. Philomena’s Church in the East End. In 1881 he returned to Old St. Mary’s as the parishes third pastor where he remain for the rest of his life, a span of nearly 27 years. During his tenure, Old St. Mary’s was widely know as the finest and largest Catholic Church in the City of Cincinnati. He died on November 21, 1897.

On the day of his death, Fr. Menge celebrated High Mass with his assistant Fr. Tiemann at 10:00 am and had used the newly installed pulpit to give his sermon; ironically, it was both his first and his last from that pulpit. Two hours later, Fr. Tiemann found him dead of a heart attack in his room with his breviary still in his hand. The funeral Mass was celebrated on November 24th by Archbishop Elder together with the General Vicar of the Archdiocese, Rev. J.C. Albrinck. There were also 10 priests that concelebrated the Requiem Mass. He was interred at Calvary Cemetery in Cincinnati

At his death, Fr. Menge left behind two brothers here in Cincinnati: Lorenz and Franz Menge. A nephew was a missionary in Brazil, and two brothers were also religious: Rev. J.J. Menge, who died in 1873, was the former pastor of St. Francis de Sales Church in the Walnut Hills neighborhood, and Rev. Goswin Menge, who died in 1894, had been a priest in Schepstorf, Hannover, Germany.