Fr. Harry Winter, OMI: “David Power’s Relevance”

by Harry Winter, OMI

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Fr. Harry Winter, OMI

The national Catholic weekly America mentioned David Power, O.M.I. (1932–2014) in its July 18-25, 2016 issue.  Timothy P. O’Malley, “Longing for Communion,” was examining the recent Lutheran-RC document “From Conflict to Communion,” and presented the current discussion over the concept of transubstantiation to explain what happens to the bread and wine during the Eucharist.  He noted:  “As Roman Catholic theologians and philosophers reread St. Thomas Aquinas, they continue to discern an account of transubstantiation functioning less as a philosophical justification and more as a guarding of the mystery of a divine presence that is wholly given by Christ.  Here the work of Herbert McCabe, O.P., David Power, O.M.I., and Jean-Luc Marion remains invaluable for future dialogues” (p. 17).

Fr. David N. Power, OMI

Fr. David Power, OMI

Although David taught in Oblate seminaries in Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, and Texas, his prolonged activity at Oblate College and Catholic University of America, Washington, DC (1977-2000), meant that the strong presence of Lutheran and Episcopalian seminaries within the Washington Theological Consortium helped him dialogue extensively with these two Reformation Churches. With Pope Francis’ visit to Sweden scheduled on Oct. 30, to begin the 499th year of Luther’s posting of his theses, David’s writings will be even more relevant.

During the Oblate national convocation in April, 2013, he twice presented  a module on the link between Oblate community meals and the Lord’s Supper.  Unfortunately, the notes of that paper did not survive the cleaning of his room after he died on June 19, 2014.  I welcome receiving any notes, articles, or talks he gave which would incorporate his convocation presentation.

It is also very significant that the author of the America article, Dr. Tim O’Malley is the 35 year old lay Director of Notre Dame University’s Center for Liturgy. During David’s lifetime, theologians have changed from being elderly clergy, to younger men and women, laity.  One of David’s great interests, reflected in his writing, is the status of ministry by the laity.

I am unaware of a Festschrift being done for David during his lifetime.  Perhaps it is not too late?

So may Oblates  welcome learning about doctoral theses which examine David’s accomplishments.