The memorial Mass for Father John A. Ditenhafer will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 20, at the Church of the Annunziata in Ladue. Father Ditenhafer died June 9 at Mother of Good Counsel Home in Northwoods. He recently celebrated his 83rd birthday and had been a priest for 57 years.
Born May 22, 1935, in St. Louis, Father Ditenhafer was ordained to the priesthood on March 18, 1961, by Cardinal Joseph E. Ritter. His first assignment was as assistant pastor at Mary Queen of Peace Parish in Webster Groves. In 1962, he became part-time assistant pastor at All Saints Parish in University City while pursuing further studies at Saint Louis University.
He returned to Mary Queen of Peace as assistant pastor in 1963, then was assigned to St. Angela Merici Parish in Florissant as assistant pastor in 1966. He became associate pastor at St. Peter Parish in Kirkwood in 1973, then went to St. Martin de Porres in Hazelwood as associate pastor in 1979.
He received his first pastorship at Our Lady Parish in Festus in 1981 and served in that capacity for 11 years. In 1987, Archbishop John L. May named him to the Archdiocesan Development Council as Priests’ Representative of the four deaneries outside St. Louis City and County.
He took a sabbatical in the second half of 1992 at the Franciscan Renewal Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif, then returned as senior priest in service at Holy Infant Parish in Ballwin in the first half of 1993.
From 1993 to 2005, he served at Christ the King Parish in University City: one year as administrator and 11 as pastor until he was granted retirement status in 2005 and became retired priest in residence at Annunziata Parish. He came out of retirement in 2009 to serve as interim parochial administrator at Annunziata, then returned to retirement status while still residing at Annunziata.
Father Ditenhafer donated his body to Saint Louis University Medical School.