Donald Sybertz-Biography

Father Donald F. Sybertz was born July 23, 1928, in North Weymouth, Massachusetts, the son of Frank W. and Helen Bronder Sybertz. He attended Bicknell School and Weymouth High School, and earned an A.B. in economics from Boston College, before entering Maryknoll in 1950.

After his ordination in 1955, he was assigned to Busanda Parish in Shinyanga Diocese, Tanzania. Then he served in Nassa Parish and after one year went to Kilulu Parish in the plains region of northern Tanzania. Father Sybertz built the first home there to provide shelter and care for aged persons lacking families and housing. He was later assigned to Gula Parish, a large sprawling parish undergoing expansion of people and villages. Eventually the parish was divided into several parishes and Father Sybertz moved from Gula to Mwanhuzi (Meatu) and developed that center into a separate parish.

Over the years, Father Sybertz has been one of the Maryknollers most proficient in the Sukuma language. His facility in the language and interest in the local culture and how to inculturate Christianity in that culture and among the Sukuma People led him into a continuing study of how to relate Scripture and the African proverbs, wisdom sayings, stories and parables of the people. This study has resulted in recent years in the publication of several books in Swahili as evangelization aids for the Tanzanian Church and a major book in English called Towards An African Narrative Theology.

Father Sybertz, who has spent his entire missionary career in Tanzania, presently resides in Ndoleleji Parish where he facilitates a Sukuma Research Team. He continues to serve part-time in the neighboring Mwanhuzi Parish. Father Sybertz retired in the Africa Region on January 31, 2001, while continuing to work full time in Maryknoll’s inculturation and evangelization apostolate. His hobbies include tennis. He is a dyed in the wool Boston Red Sox fan.