Friar Jovian P. Lang OFM, 90, a friar-priest of the Franciscan Province of the Sacred Heart and a member of Our Lady of Angels Friary died of heart failure in Sherman, Illinois, after a number of years of failing health.
H was born on June 2, 1919, in Sioux City, Iowa, of Peter and Margaret (nee Horvath) and received the name of Peter. In 1939 he entered the novitiate of the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) and was given the religious name of “Jovian.? After first profession in 1940 and solemn profession of vows on August 23, 1943, he was ordained a priest on June 20, 1946.
He spent his first year of ministry in an internship program based at the Franciscans’ Quincy College (now University) in Quincy, Illinois.
His professional expertise was library science. He exercised this expertise at Quincy College for 20 years (in two stints); then at St. Joseph Minor Seminary in Westmont, Illinois, for two years; at the University of Southern Florida in Tampa as a faculty member for four years; at St. John University in Jamaica, New York, for 14 years as a faculty member; and at St. Vincent DePaul Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida, where was on the faculty there and also at the University of South Florida-East Coast.
A little-know fact about Jovian was that he served as the spiritual guide for prize-fighter Sugar Ray Robinson during his time at the seminary in Westmont.
In 1992 Jovian moved to St. Maximilian Friary in Crowley, Texas, where he began a period of semi-retirement during which he taught library and information science for eight years at the University of North Texas and the Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas.
During most of the years of working in library science either as a professor or as a librarian, he also provided a very valuable service to English-speaking Franciscans in North America. He prepared and edited the Guide for the Liturgy of the Roman-Seraphic Calendar (also called The Ordo) which provides the order, instructions, and options for praying the Liturgy of the Hours and for celebrating the Eucharist.
The personality of Jovian Lang OFM mirrored his ministry. He loved to read and kept a massive library; he once said, “I pick up a book and all my troubles seem to go away each time a turn the page. To read a good book not only stimulates the mind but also the heart.? He was a very organized person and was a stickler for everything being “right? for praying the Office or celebrating Mass. He enjoyed life and drew people to him like a magnet. The exacting nature he had in earlier years, though, mellowed into greater patience and acceptance as he aged and became more frail.
Jovian moved into full retirement in 2005 when he went to Our Lady of Angels Friary at Villa West in Sherman, Illinois, because of failing health. His physical and mental state continued to deteriorate until his frail body could no longer cope with his medical complications. He peacefully surrendered to the Lord on the evening of November 4, 2009, and now he can enjoy the peace and comfort of the God he so longed to see.
Survived by his sister Charlotte Melland of Lee Summitt, MO and a brother, Phillip Lang of Houston, TX and nieces and nephews.
Mass of Christian Burial
Saturday, November 7, 2009
9 a.m. Villa West Chapel
100 Stardust Drive
Sherman, IL 62684
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