January 14, 2022

Father Louis Manna served in several parishes in southern Indiana

By Sean Gallagher

Father Louis MannaFather Louis Manna, a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, died on Dec. 23, 2021, in his home in Clarksville. He was 76.

The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Jan. 6 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. Archbishop Charles C. Thompson was the principal celebrant. Conventual Franciscan Father John Elmer was the homilist.

Burial will take place at a later date at St. Joseph Cemetery in St. Leon.

Born in Louisville, Ky., in 1945, Father Manna first discerned a vocation to religious life as a member of the Conventual Franciscan Province of Our Lady of Consolation based in Mount St. Francis in southern Indiana.

He was ordained a priest as a Conventual Franciscan in 1973 and became a priest of the archdiocese in 1995 through a process called incardination.

Pat Cornwell and her late husband John became friends with Father Manna when he was their pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Corydon from 2000-05.

She recalled how, with few close relatives of his own, Father Manna saw the parishioners he served as his family.

“When he knew someone was scheduled for surgery, he offered the blessing for the sick without being asked,” Cornwell said. “When someone was widowed, he followed up with phone calls of encouragement. He was basically a shy person, but kept in touch with friends long after he left each of his many parishes.”

Father John, who entered the Conventual Franciscans at the same time as Father Manna, recalled how his friend maintained close ties to the community at Mount St. Francis even after he became an archdiocesan priest—again because of his value of family.

“Even though he was no longer a member of our community, he would always come to different celebrations of the community—a birthday, an anniversary of profession or ordination, the visitation or funeral of a friar who had died,” Father John said. “He had a love for family. It goes back to his own family.”

Father Manna’s love for the Italian roots of his family led him to take several trips to Italy to meet distant relatives there.

Cornwell sees in her former pastor’s love for travel “a good metaphor for the way he accompanied individuals on their own paths.”

“He cared about their lives and trials,” Cornwell said. “He kept track of people, like the Good Shepherd who went looking for the one sheep. When my husband died, he called periodically to see how I was doing … .”

Louis Michael Manna was born on Sept. 16, 1945, in Louisville, Ky., to the late Louis and Petronilla Manna.

After his elementary education at St. Francis of Assisi School in Louisville, he enrolled in 1959 at the former Mount St. Francis High School in Mount St. Francis. At the time, it was a high school seminary for the Conventual Franciscan Province of Our Lady of Consolation.

He graduated from the high school seminary in 1963 and entered the province’s novitiate, then located in Auburn, Ind.

Father Manna professed first vows on Aug. 2, 1964, at the novitiate and solemn vows on Aug. 6, 1967, at St. Bonaventure Friary in St. Louis.

In addition to the high school seminary, Father Manna received priestly formation at the former Our Lady of Carey Seminary in Carey, Ohio; the former Assumption Seminary in Chaska, Minn.; and at St. Louis University in St. Louis.

He was ordained a priest on July 28, 1973, at St. Anthony Church in Lorain, Ohio, by Bishop William M. Cosgrove, then an auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Cleveland.

Father Manna’s first pastoral assignment was at the Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center in Prior Lake, Minn., where he served from 1973-75.

He then ministered for a year as associate pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Potomac, Md., and for a year as associate pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Grand Rapids, Mich.

From 1977-79, Father Manna served as associate pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Broken Bow, Neb., also ministering during that time at nearby mission churches. He later returned to Broken Bow to serve as pastor from 1988-91.

Father Manna began ministry in the archdiocese in 1979, serving as associate pastor of St. Benedict Parish in Terre Haute from 1979-82 and St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Clarksville from 1982-88.

In 1991, Father Manna began the process of becoming a priest of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, which is called incardination. It became finalized in 1995.

From 1993-2000, Father Manna ministered as pastor of the former St. Joseph Parish in St. Leon and the former St. John the Baptist Parish in Dover. The campuses of both those parishes are now part of All Saints Parish in Dearborn County.

Father Manna then served as pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Corydon, the former St. Peter Parish in Harrison County and the former Most Precious Blood Parish in New Middleton from 2000-05.

Father Manna next served as pastor of American Martyrs Parish in Scottsburg and St. Patrick Parish in Salem from 2005-16. He was granted permission to retire from active ministry in 2016.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, 1400 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46202. †

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