Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church


Fr. Gavin Barnes dies on February 6

February 07, 2017

Fr _Gavin _Barnes _for _webFr. Gavin Barnes, 89, a monk and priest of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, St. Meinrad, IN, died at 11:40 p.m. on February 6, 2017, at the monastery.

He was a jubilarian both of profession and priesthood, and a participant in the Rush Religious Study on Aging and Alzheimer's.

Fr. Gavin was born in Bedford, IN, on November 15, 1927, to John Dewey and Helen (Krebs) Barnes, and was given the name John Dewey Jr. at his baptism. In 1941, he entered Saint Meinrad High School.

He joined the Benedictine community at Saint Meinrad as a novice in 1946, professed his simple vows on August 1, 1947, and began studies at Saint Meinrad College. He professed solemn vows on September 8, 1950, and was ordained to the priesthood on May 3, 1952.

After ordination, Fr. Gavin attended the Collegio Sant' Anselmo, Rome, where he earned a licentiate in sacred theology in 1954. He served as assistant novice/junior master for four years and began a 42-year teaching career at Saint Meinrad College and School of Theology.

Fr. Gavin earned a master's degree in speech, specializing in oral interpretation, public address and speech correction, from Northwestern University in 1960. He also studied at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and at the University of Iowa.

In addition to teaching, for 38 years he was director of drama, usually directing two major productions each year. In 2007, Fr. Gavin received the Spencer County Arts Award, which honored his four decades of work as drama director at Saint Meinrad College and his work in supporting the creation of the Lincoln State Park Amphitheatre.

The last play he wrote and directed, "Between Friends: Fateful Conversations of the Civil War," dealt with President Lincoln's relationship with his generals, and played at the Amphitheatre in 2012.

The Office of the Dead will be prayed at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 10, in the Archabbey Church, followed by visitation until 9 p.m. Visitation on Saturday will be from 8 to 9:45 a.m. in the Archabbey Church, followed by the funeral Mass at 10 a.m. Burial will follow in the Archabbey Cemetery. All times are Central Time.