Reverend Michael John Manning, SVD, joyful and beloved television host and inspirational speaker for over 40 years, entered the eternal joy of God’s embrace on December 14, 2016, having struggled with terminal cancer diagnosed in early October this year. Many people across the U.S. and around the world hold him close in prayer, with love and gratitude for the gift he was in their lives.
Father Mike was born December 31, 1940, to William and Myrtle Manning, one of four siblings, in Muncie, Indiana. He is survived by many nephews, nieces, and cousins across the country. Father Mike felt called to the priesthood early on, and entered the Society of the Divine Word in Girard, Pennsylvania, on September 8, 1955. After high school graduation, novitiate studies and first vows in New York, he made final profession of vows in September 1968 and was ordained a priest on January 4, 1969, in Techny, IIlinois. He received degrees in Philosophy, Theology and Fine Arts (playwriting) from Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Ministries in recruitment for the Society in Iowa and high school teaching in Los Angeles were followed in 1979 by pursuit of his first love, communications and evangelization. He became Founder and President of Wordnet Productions, www.wordnet.tv, in 1978 and Pastor of St. Anthony Parish in San Bernardino from 2003 to 2007.
Father Mike’s television program, The Word in the World, has sent the joy of the Gospel around the world weekly on various networks including TBN, EWTN, El Sembrador, Heart of the Nation, Catholic Dioceses, and the American Forces Network. In 2010 he launched the reflection apps iGodTODAY and Dios Habla, the teams for which are continuing to inspire daily Bible readers. Father Mike had a special talent and love for building bridges among people—parish communities, interfaith groups, married couples. He was called on many times as a guest to represent the Catholic Church on a variety of radio and television programs like “Larry King Live” and Michael Levine’s “Without Notes.” In 2006 Father Mike received the prestigious Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice cross from Pope Benedict XVI for his contributions to the Universal Church. Father Mike’s writings were numerous, including books and pamphlets. He loved to use puppets to teach children about God. In 2009, the commemorative year of Saint Paul, he co-wrote a musical theatre production about Paul’s life, “PAUL,” which was performed several times in the Los Angeles area.
The Memorial Vigil will take place on Tuesday, December 20, 4:00 to 8:00 pm, at the Divine Word Residence, Luberski Hall, 11316 Cypress Avenue, Riverside 92505,. The Funeral Eucharist will be celebrated on Wednesday, December 21, 1 pm, at Queen of Angels Church, 4824 Jones Avenue, Riverside 92505. Committal and Burial, Pierce Brothers-Crestlawn, 11500 Arlington Ave, Riverside, CA 92505. Reception at Queen of Angels Church.
In lieu of flowers, the Divine Word Community suggests memorial donations to be sent to Wordnet Productions, 532 North D Street, San Bernardino, Ca, 92401. In the words of Father Mike’s signature blessing: “May Jesus’ love for you make you smile!” Yes, Father Mike has left us to smile forever in the arms of God!
532 North D Street
San Bernardino, CA 92401-1304.