March 5, 2023
I would like to thank all those who took time out of their busy schedules to spend some time at the wake and participate in the service for Abbot Christopher. Certainly the time was not ideal for those who had to work that day, but this was the time afforded to us and I decided to make the most of what we were given in this situation. I would also like to thank those who made the journey to Cleveland for the Funeral Mass Thursday evening. It was good to see so many of you there. May God reward you for your kindness.
With anyone who serves as a pastor, there are those who like you, those who have misunderstandings with you, and those who mainly just care that you are there when they need the services of a priest. Such was the same with Abbot Christopher: there were friendships forged, misunderstandings arisen, and there are a lot of present parish families who never knew him. We thank God for his ministry among us, and try our utmost to forgive any misunderstandings that often arise from human frailty.
My own dealings with Abbot Christopher began when I was 17 years old and wrote to the Abbey inquiring about a vocation. He replied with a hand-written note that encouraged me to visit and find more about life as a Benedictine. I am not the only one who was the recipient of such notes. One of my priest friends in Youngstown also received such missives. It made us feel so special. Father had a knack for giving you his undivided attention when he conversed with you. I can recall many conversations we had together when we both served at Assumption. We seemed to get along together okay.
Abbot Christopher worked very diligently in whatever position he was asked to fulfill. At the Abbey, he taught a full load of courses at the high school, was moderator of the Senior Class as well as being the Prior of the Abbey. Father Abbot also was able to celebrate Mass in three different rites of the Church: Roman, Byzantine & Maronite. At Assumption, he successfully completed an addition to the school building that doubled its size and capacity to increase enrollment. The Garden of Memories and addition to the kitchen of the Family Center were some of his other achievements. All of his achievements were founded on prayer. This was important to Abbot’s ministry. He established the Divine Mercy Chapel so as to make 24 hour Eucharistic Adoration a spiritual mainstay of the parish. Morning and Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours by us each day in common.
His body worn out, Abbot went into retirement and spent that time praying for all of us. As he spent his religious life so that in all things God be glorified, may he share most fully in the rewards promised to the citizens of heaven, our eternal home.