20 Questions with Fr. Frank Wittouck, SCJ
Favorite color? What makes you happy? What are you good at? What is your greatest fear… “Twenty Questions” is a regular feature in which SCJs and those with whom they minister and collaborate share a bit about themselves in an informal Q&A, each answering 20 questions.
Fr. Frank Wittouck, 78, professed his first vows with the SCJs in 1957. He has been a teacher, spiritual director and administrator in the province’s seminaries, a military chaplain (serving in Korea, Germany, Kuwait and in the United States), a prison chaplain, as well as a parish pastor –– and those are just the highlights of his CV. A lifelong student, he has certificates and degrees from Sacred Heart Monastery, Kilroe Seminary, the Catholic University of America, the University of Detroit, the Austin-Presbyterian Seminary, the University of San Francisco and Loyola University New Orleans. Fr. Frank is now actively retired in Houston.
Q: Where were you born and raised? Describe your family
I was born in Chicago, IL, on March 23, 1938; I was raised on the south side. I am an only child and wanted to have brothers and sisters. This is probably one of the big reasons why I went to the minor seminary at Donaldson in 1952. I immediately got 120 brothers and was not homesick.
Q: What is your favorite book or movie?
My favorite movie is “South Pacific” or “Man of la Mancha.” I am also a James Bond fanatic.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world (without concern about the expense) where would you go and why?
China. I wanted to be a missionary in China when I joined the SCJs as a kid. I did not realize that we didn’t minister there. I recently told a provincial superior that I wanted to volunteer for the congregation’s new efforts in Asia but he said that it is probably too late (I am 78).
Q: What are you good at?
I am good at helping people. I listen well and reflect their concerns. I get upset when people are not willing to help themselves.
Q: What is your favorite color?
Q: Do you have any hobbies or pastimes? If so, what are they and how did you get interested in them?
Photography, biking, hiking, outdoor exploration. Since I was a kid I have enjoyed these. The Boy Scouts were a big part of my life. Unfortunately I now have peripheral neuropathy and this limits my mobility.
Q: What is your favorite food?
Q: What is your least favorite chore?
Q: Who — living or deceased — do you most admire and why?
Fr. Tom Garvey, SCJ. He was an inspiration to me. He always had challenging ideas and plans. Plus, he was a very dedicated SCJ.
Q: What would surprise people to learn about you?
How anxious and scared I am most of the time. I give the impression of being cool and in control.
Q: What skill or talent would you like to have that you do not? Why?
Recollection. I would like to be more in touch with what I am actually doing.
Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Q: What makes you happy?
Seeing people happy in their lives and in what they are doing.
Q: What is your greatest fear?
Being seen as a failure.
Q: What trait or habit do you dislike in yourself?
Q: What trait or habit do you dislike in others?
Lack of kindness.
Q: List three words that describe you.
Helpful, compassionate, experienced.
Q: How did you come to know of the Priests of the Sacred Heart?
Vocation pamphlet and subsequent recruitment and visit from Fr.. George Pinger, SCJ.
Q: What interested you initially when you learned about the SCJs? What interests you about the SCJs now?
They were interested in having me join them. Now, it is because the SCJs care about me and demonstrate it in so many ways.
Q: Do you consider yourself a Dehonian? If so, what does that mean to you?
Yes. I try to appreciate God’s love in my life and try to spread that conviction to others for their lives.