Father Daniel P. Jensen, MM

Born: September 26, 1935
Ordained: June 9, 1962
Died: July 14, 2013

Father Daniel P. Jensen died on July 14, 2013 at Phelps Memorial Hospital, Sleepy Hollow, New York. He was 77 years old and a Maryknoll priest for 51 years.

Daniel Powers Jensen was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, son of Charles W. and Marjorie Powers Jensen. Both he and his older brother, Charles, attended St. Catherine of Siena Grammar School in Riverside, Connecticut and graduated from Fairfield Preparatory High School, Fairfield, Connecticut. Graduating in 1953, he joined Maryknoll and went to the Junior Seminary (Venard) in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania on June 20th of the same year. The requisite years of college studies, Philosophy and Theology followed. Awarded a BA in Philosophy and a MRE from Maryknoll Seminary, he was ordained a priest on June 9, 1962. That same summer he was assigned to the Maryknoll Mission Region of Guatemala.

Following language school, Father Jensen was assigned as assistant to the Parish of San Miguel Acatan in the Department of Huehuetenango until January of 1965, when he was transferred as Pastor to the large Parish of Santa Eulalia where he served for 6 years. It was during this time that he completed linguistic and anthropological studies of the K’anjobal Indian people. He was appointed co-director of the Centro Apostolico Catechetical Center for training lay leaders in that diocese and traveled throughout Latin America conducting courses for catechists. Owing to encroaching violence, he was transferred in 1979 to the Indigenous Cultural Center in Guatemala City. During these days, he served as Pastoral Associate in the village of Chinautla, Guatemala. He also served as Executive Director of the Conference of Religious of Guatemala (CONFREGUA) in Guatemala City. Violence once again curtailed the Center, and Father Jensen was forced to close the Center and the parish. From May 1981 until February of 1982, Father Jensen joined the new Maryknoll commitment in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.

In June 1982 assigned to the United States, Father Jensen worked for Maryknoll’s Center for Mission Studies and the Maryknoll Office for Justice and Peace at the Maryknoll Society Mission Center in Ossining, where he researched and wrote about mission issues.

Father Jensen returned to Latin America in 1985 and was assigned to a refugee camp in Campeche, Mexico, for Guatemalans who had fled military persecution in their own country. He then moved to Cochabamba, Bolivia, to serve as Director of Continuing Education for Maryknoll missioners in Latin America.

Between 1990 and 1997, Father Jensen served in various positions in the United States, including Formation/Education and also Social Communications, where he was Assistant Editor for Maryknoll magazine. He also was very active with the Maryknoll AIDS Task Force. Wherever he worked, his sense of humor, his intelligence and creativity shone through, and his seemingly endless energy could be seen in everything he did.

In July 1998 Father Jensen was appointed director of the Maryknoll Residence in Los Altos, California. He oversaw the retirement facility and served the elderly priests and Brothers he called “Maryknoll’s retired heroes.” In December 2003 he was assigned to the Retirement Community and returned to Maryknoll, New York shortly thereafter. Father Jensen’s declining health necessitated his move to St. Teresa’s Residence.

“Mission is not taking Jesus overseas, but it is discovering the footprints of God across the history of the people we serve,” said Father Jensen. “For example, the Mayan people do not have a word for holy, because everything is holy. They have a sense of reverence and a feeling of awe before the presence of God in all creation.”

Wake services were held at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 18, 2013 at St. Teresa’s, and at 7:30 p.m. in Queen of Apostles Chapel at Maryknoll Center where Father Joseph P. La Mar officiated and Father Edward O. Custer read the biography. Mass of Christian Burial was concelebrated in Queen of Apostles Chapel on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. Father Edward F. Moore was Principal Celebrant and Father Donald J. Doherty, homilist. According to Fr. Jensen’s wishes, he was cremated, and the cremains were brought to Mateo Esteban at Santa Eulalia in Huehuetenago, Guatemala for final disposition.