May the Passion of Jesus Christ Be Always In Our Heart. Remembering Fathers Coveyou, Holbein, and Seybold (1929-2020)
Where were you born? What life decisions have you made? Each had a dream to be a China missionary.
Today, April 24, 2020 what are your dreams? You can pray to these Passionists. Let them inspire you to never grow tired to dream. In the process we will have to accept our daily suffering and have faith in the resurrection for this life and eternal life, especially for those who have died
Father Walter Coveyou (1894-1929) was born in Petoskey, Michigan. He he was the son of W. M. Coveyou and Flora Draper. He professed his Passionist vows on February 13, 1912 and was ordained a Passionist priest on May 29, 1920. He quickly offered his ministry to the China missions, but it was decided that the time was not right for him to go to China. Instead he was assigned to Cincinnati, Ohio where he was a preacher who raised monies for the Passionist missions in China. He also preached sermons and gave Lenten courses. After 1927, it appeared that the civil strife which had consumed China was coming to an end. Holy Cross Province (Western province) in the U.S. decided to send Coveyou to China. After a six week medical course in order to prepare for the missions, he arrived in late 1928 where he began to study the Chinese language in Chenzhou, Hunan.
Lawrence Seybold (1896-1929) was born in Dunkirk, New York. He was the son of Simon and Mary Seybold. In 1914 he entered the Passionist Preparatory Seminary, Baltimore, Maryland. His religious name was Clement. He studied at Scranton, Pennsylvania, and West Hoboken, New Jersey. Accepted as a volunteer for China he received medical training in Pittsburgh from Dr. Rectenwald. He was ordained a Passionist priest on October 28, 1923. In July 1924 he set sail for China. He found the mission life to be a challenge, but he had quite good success. He was assigned to the Qianyang, Hunan mission.
Claude Holbein (1899-1929) was born in Baltimore, Maryland,. He was the son of Frank L. Holbein and Mary Kelly. His father died when he was young. He was educated at St. Joseph’s Monastery School, Baltimore from which he graduated June 1911. That August he entered the Passionist Preparatory Seminary, St. Mary’s, Dunkirk, New York. Studies were done Scranton, Pennsylvania, Brighton, Massachusetts; Scranton again; and then in West Hoboken, New Jersey. He volunteered for China , was accepted and received training in Pittsburgh in theology as well as first aid from Dr. Rectenwald. Holbein was ordained a Passionist priest on October 28, 1923. In 1924 was in West Hunan, China. He found the mission life difficult, did express some desire to return to the United States. He is an example of living with our everyday anxieties. In 1928 he was assigned to the mission at Xupu, Hunan.
All three priest had just completed their annual retreat at Chenzhou. Hunan. On their way back to their respective mission posts, they were murdered by local bandits on April 24, 1929. American Catholics and the Passionist Congregation have seen these three priests as heroic examples and martyrs that continue to inspire our faith.