Divine Word missionary dies

National, Normal

FATHER Josef John Forstnes, a Catholic missionary priest of the Society of the Divine Word who for many years worked in Madang province, died last Tuesday while on home leave in Germany.  
Fr Joseph died at the university hospital in Regensburg in Bavaria of respiratory system failure. 
He was born on Jan 30, 1946, in Regensburg in Germany.
He was the son of Josef and Philomena Forstnes.
He joined the Society of the Divine Word in 1966 and studied philosophy and theology at St Augustine seminary near Bonn.
On Oct 15, 1972, he was ordained priest at St Wolfgang church in Regensburg, Germany and received his mission appointment for Papua New Guinea.
After an introduction to the language and culture, he began working in the Saidor parish, in Raikos, Madang, in 1974 under the guidance of Fr Ernest Golly.
In 1976, he was for a short time parish priest of Mirap, until 1984 when he became the director of the Catechist School at Maiwara, which was founded in 1969.
From 1984 to 1991, Fr Josef was a parish priest in Saidor, where he begun his service as a priest in PNG.
In 1991, he transferred to take the post as the parish priest at Holy Spirit Cathedral in Madang until his death.
A memorial mass is planned to be conducted in the cathedral today.