Fr. Maynard Nagengast Passes Away at 89


Reverend Maynard George Nagengast, O.S.B., a monk of Newark Abbey, passed away peacefully on May 25, 2024, in the monastery infirmary where he had been living for the past three years.

Born on August 27, 1934 in Bayonne, New Jersey to George and Cecelia Honegger Nagengast, he attended St. Henry’s parochial school in Bayonne, staffed by Benedictine Sisters,  and graduated from  St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City. He entered St. Mary’s Abbey and spent his novitiate year at Saint Benedict’s  Abbey in Atchison, Kansas, where he made simple profession on July 11, 1956. 

He graduated from St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota, and later did graduate work in art education at New York University. After his theological studies at St. Mary’s Abbey in Morristown, he was ordained to the priesthood on May 26, 1962, and moved to Newark that year, where he would teach art at Saint Benedict’s Prep for the next 50 years. He was beloved by his students and inspired several of them over the years to become architects.

Father Maynard was a gifted artist in painting, drawing, and sculpture. His talents are evident in his many works of liturgical art that decorate churches in northern New Jersey, including the chapel of the Benedictine Sisters of Saint Walburga Monastery in Elizabeth, New Jersey. His eye for beauty was evident in the monastery garden which he would tend lovingly for hours at a time.

His declining health eventually confined him to our infirmary. In this final period of his life he cheerfully bore his progressive weakness, and kept the pleasant smile and quiet personality that had always been his gift to his brother monks, to his students, and to the parishioners of St. Mark’s parish in Sea Girt, New Jersey, where he served on weekends for many years. 

Reception of the body and vigil will take place in the Abbey Church from 4:00 PM - 9:00 PM on Tuesday, May 28. The funeral Mass will be celebrated in the St. Benedict's Prep Gymnasium at 9:00 AM on Wednesday, May 29. Father Maynard will be buried in the monastery plot in St. Mary’s Cemetery in East Orange.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.