Fr. Steven Baumbusch, PIME died in the Philippines on October 28, 2010. He was 53 years old. Fr. Baumbusch drowned while swimming off the coast of Lubang Island.
Fr. Steve was born December 23, 1956 in Columbus, Ohio. He was a graduate of the former PIME Saints Peter and Paul High School Seminary in Newark, Ohio, where he began his studies in 1970. He later said the years were essential for him and that he was deeply inspired by the example of Father Cesare Colombo, PIME and his work among the lepers in Burma (now Myanmar).
He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Detroit, and studied theology at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Following his ordination in 1983, he spent six years as a teacher and dean at Sts. Peter and Paul High School Seminary. In 1989, he began a six-year stint as PIME US Regional Superior at the regional headquarters in Detroit. During his tenure as Regional Superior, he cofounded the PIME mission in Cuanacaxtitlan, Mexico, among the native Mixtec Indians. From 1995-1998, he served as Formation Director for PIME’s college seminarians in Detroit. In August 1998, Father Steve left the United States and was assigned to the Philippines. He initially served at the Columbio mission on the island of Mindanao, then Paranaque (Manila metropolitan area) in the parish of Mary Queen of the Apostles.
Fr. Steve had gone with a group of seminarians for a brief vacation between semesters to the island of Lubang. They swam in the ocean that afternoon; the weather was fine and the sea was calm. At some point Fr. Steve and one of the seminarians, Luca Vinati, went further from the shore and got caught up in a strong current. Luca struggled back to the shore, but Fr. Steve did not make it. His body was recovered by a local fisherman the following morning.
An optimistic, joyful man, Fr. Steve was known for his deep faith and daring spirit. He was deeply loved by the Filipino people; his seminarians called him “Dad.” He loved to say that “your life will have more meaning and fulfillment the more you give yourself to others. You can change the world and the lives of the people of God. ”