Funeral Mass offered June 30 at St. Bede for Father Harold Datzman, OSB

Father Harold Datzman, OSB

UPDATE: For the full text of the homily at Father Harold’s funeral Mass, click here.

PERU — A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated for Father Harold Datzman, OSB, on June 30, at St. Bede Abbey Church here. Abbot Michael Calhoun, OSB, presided and gave the homily.

Burial followed in the abbey cemetery.

Father Harold died from complications caused by congestive heart failure on June 24, 2023, at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria. He was 84.

A monk and priest of St. Bede Abbey, he is being remembered not only for his work at St. Bede Academy, but for his pastoral ministry at parishes in the Illinois Valley.


The son of Louis and Mary (Strasburger) Datzman, Harold Louis Datzman was born Nov. 7, 1938, in Earl Park, Indiana. He came to St. Bede Academy for high school and by his senior year — strongly influenced by Father Henry Fritz, OSB, his prefect — he decided to enter the monastic community.

Father Harold went to St. Bede Junior College for two years and then entered the novitiate in 1958. He made his first profession with the Benedictines on July 11, 1959.

He continued his studies at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and then entered the theologate at Conception Abbey in Conception, Missouri. Father Harold was ordained to the priesthood on May 23, 1965, by Bishop John B. Franz at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria.

During the next few summers, he studied Latin at Georgetown University, and would receive a master’s degree in religious education from the University of Detroit.

Father Harold taught religion and Latin at St. Bede Academy from 1965 to 1992. He also served as prefect in the boarding department from 1965 to 1977, and was the prior at St. Bede Abbey from 1984 to 1987.


Parish ministry took him to St. Joseph in Peru from 1977 to 1984. He was named administrator of Holy Trinity in Cherry and St. Patrick in Arlington in 1987, and pastor at St. Thomas More in Dalzell in 1988. During his time there, the church was torn down and a new one constructed and dedicated in 1990.

In addition, Father Harold served as pastor at St. Benedict in Ladd and St. Gertrude in Seatonville from 1994 to 2005, when he returned to St. Joseph in Peru as pastor. He would remain there until his retirement to St. Bede Abbey in 2017.

He was also active in Cursillo and in prison ministry.

Due to declining mobility, Father Harold spent his final years at St. Joseph’s Nursing Home (now Lacon Rehab and Nursing) in Lacon.

Preceded in death by his parents, Father Harold is survived by four sisters, Beverly Ross, Barbara Garing, Rosemary Bobo, and Ellen (Philip) McGraw, all of Indiana, and his monastic brethren.

Memorials may be directed to St. Bede Abbey, 26 W. US Highway 6, Peru, IL 61354.

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