Bishop Alphonse A. Sowada, osc, Scholarship Fund
Bishop Alphonse Sowada, osc, was a spiritual leader and shepherd with great foresight. Called as a missionary to serve the Asmat people, he was led by the Spirit in requesting to study cultural anthropology before taking up the task of proclaiming and living the joy of the Gospel in ‘the world away’ of Papua, Indonesia.
In 1961 the then Fr. Alphonse Sowada boarded an outboard motorboat that sputtered up the Asuwets River in the rainforest of Papua, New Guinea, before reaching its destination in the village of Ayam. A few days earlier this youthful 28-year-old newly ordained Crosier priest had left the comforts of his homeland for this remote island where he would proclaim and live the joy of the Gospel as a Crosier missionary. In 1969 Pope Paul VI appointed him bishop of the newly established Diocese of Agats in Indonesia. Bishop Alphonse would go on to serve as the spiritual leader and shepherd of the Asmat people for 32 years.
Though Bishop Alphonse died on January 11, 2014, his story does not end there, for he will long be remembered for the work he did to help preserve the identity of the Asmat people, ensuring that their culture—the life, the worldview, and the art—of the Asmat would live to see “the other side of the modern age.” Indeed, without him and the other Crosier missionaries, it is wondered whether the Asmat people would have survived at all.
Bishop Alphonse appreciated the various educational opportunities he received throughout his life. He was particularly grateful for his advanced degree in cultural anthropology, which gave him a solid foundation for his work with the Asmat people.
In gratitude for his vocation to Crosier religious life and for the many years of inspired service to God and the Church among the Asmat people in Indonesia, we have established the Bishop Alphonse A. Sowada, osc, Scholarship Fund to honor the life of this remarkable man. The fund will provide support to Crosiers who are interested in advanced studies in philosophy, theology, anthropology, and the advancement of leadership skills to serve the worldwide Crosier order.
Our long-term goal is to see this fund grow to $100,000 over the next several years. Thank you for helping us reach this goal.