Mike Aquilina

He Disappeared in the Dead of Winter

Friday February 12th 2010, 9:52 am

I learned, from an obituary in our diocesan newspaper, that Fr. Christopher Rengers, OFM Cap., died on January 25. He was 92.

Fr. Christopher was a noted confessor, spiritual mentor — and author of some excellent works on the Church Fathers. He’s best known for his book The 33 Doctors Of The Church. He is the man who started, back in 1977, the custom of observing an all-night prayer vigil in the crypt church of the Basilica of the National Shrine on the eve of the March for Life. The event has grown since then. It’s quite huge now. He was a kind and gentle man, brilliant but childlike. He ended every conversation with a request to pray together with you. Such habits die hard, if at all. I suspect he’ll continue all these customs for the duration.

The 33 Doctors Of The Church includes excellent brief biographies of many figures from the patristic era, namely:

St. Gregory the Great
St. Ambrose
St. Augustine
St. Jerome
St. John Chrysostom
St. Basil
St. Gregory Nazianzus
St. Athanasius
St. Isidore
St. Peter Chrysologus
St. Leo the Great
St. Hilary of Poitiers
St. Cyril of Alexandria
St. Cyril of Jerusalem
St. John Damascene
St. Ephrem