Father William G. Most, 84, a retired priest from the Diocese
of Dubuque, Iowa, died Jan. 31 at Prince William Hospital in
The quiet, unassuming priest taught for more than 40 at Loras
College in Dubuque. He retired in 1989.
For the past several years he taught at the Notre Dame
Graduate School of Christendom College in Alexandria.He also
was active at St. Lawrence Parish in Alexandria prior to his
His contributions to theology have been recognized all over
the world. He published 12 books and a host of articles on
topics ranging from biblical studies to Mariology and Latin
Father Most's theological expertise was sought out by
religious and laymen alike. He would spend hours composing
answers to difficult theological questions.
He was born Aug. 13, 1914, in Dubuque, Iowa, where he
attended St. Mary School and Columbia Academy. He studied
classics at Columbia College (later known as Loras) and
developed a lasting appreciation for the great pagan authors,
especially Virgil. For a time he considered devoting his life
to the study of antiquity.
After graduating from Columbia in 1936, he attended the
Sulpician Seminary in Washington. In addition to his seminary
studies, he received a masters degree in religious
studies from Catholic University. He returned to Iowa in 1940
where he was ordained to the priesthood on May 18.
After ordination, Father Most was appointed assistant pastor
to a small parish in Peosta, Iowa. But his life as a parish
priest came to an abrupt end in the fall of 1940 when the
professor of Latin and Greek at Loras College suffered a
heart attack. Father Most was summoned from Peosta and given
temporary status on the faculty. He remained in that position
for three years.
In order to prepare himself more completely for the teaching
ministry, Father Most pursued his doctorate in classics at
Catholic University from 1943-45. During this period, he
developed an interest in theology that would become more
significant as his academic career progressed.
He resumed his teaching position at Loras College on a
permanent basis in 1946, becoming immersed in the
intellectual life and in pastoral ministry to students. His
efforts in translating patristic texts for his students led
him to compose a textbook edition of St. Augustine's City
of God, which was published in 1949.
In addition to his teaching, Father Most made himself
available for spiritual direction. He would routinely see
students for up to three hours a day during these early
As he sought to draw others more deeply into the mystery of
Redemption, Father Most found that his own understanding
increased. One important aspect was his discovery of the
central importance of Mary in the Redemption.
Father Most began to seek a way to include Our Lady of
Fatima's message in his direction to students. He found that
the message of Fatima was not simply private revelation; the
message was the Gospel itself.
At this time, he consecrated his priesthood to the Immaculate
Heart of Mary and set out with a renewed mission as the
instrument of her who brings Christ to all.
His outline for a study club on Mariology resulted in the
1954 book Mary in Our Life. The book C which received
the Marian Library Medal from Dayton University in 1955 C
appeared in three editions and was translated into six
He developed a method of teaching basic Latin that involved
the reading of specially-designed texts rather than the
memorization of grammar tables. Father Most eventually
published three text books of "Latin by the Natural Method"
that were based on his teaching approach.
His 1972 book, Vatican II: Marian Council, presented
once again the central themes of his earlier work along with
the significant developments introduced by the council. In
1994, when Trinity Communications was developing the Catholic
Resource Network, Father Most became an online "expert,"
answering questions posed by members. He continued this role
on EWTN's web site when CRNet merged with EWTN to become EWTN
Online Services. Later, when PetersNet was developed in 1997,
Father Most also answered questions there, in connection with
The Most Database. As Father Most's online reputation grew,
more people began to write to him privately by email. During
the past couple of years, he would often spend several hours
each day answering messages, both public and private. This
was not easy work for him. For the past several years, he
lacked full mobility in his fingers, so typing was very
difficult. Jeffrey Mirus, former director of Christendom
Press and Trinity Communications, helped publish some of
Father Mosts books and said that "the number of
correspondents who repeatedly sought his advice and
explanations is truly astonishing." Mirus admired Father
Mosts perseverance in serving the Church even
throughout his illness. "His ability to answer questions on
EWTNs web site and PetersNet was a source of continuous
delight to him, because it gave him plenty to do for souls
even during those final years when he could move but little,"
said Mirus. "He was one of those rare few who kept his hand
to the plow and never looked back." Wake services were held
Feb. 3 at All Saints Parish in Manassas followed by an
all-night vigil. The funeral Mass was offered Feb. 4 at 10:30
a.m. at All Saints with burial to follow at Sacred Heart
Cemetery in Hoadly. Copyright ?1999 Arlington Catholic
Herald, Inc. All rights reserved.