Frederick Kirchner, OFM
1928 – 1987
Fr. Frederick Kirchner, OFM, was born on Jan. 23, 1928, in Rutherford, N.J. He graduated from Fordham University in 1950 with a degree in business and then entered St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., to study Latin.
He was received into the Province’s novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., Aug. 11, 1951, and professed temporary vows Aug. 13, 1952. Fr. Frederick made his profession of solemn vows Aug. 16, 1955, and was ordained a priest Sept. 8, 1955.
Fred’s first assignment — and his last, 29 years later — was to St. Augustine Church in Thomasville, Ga. He loved rural ministry and cared for the parish at Tifton and the mission at Camilla, paving the way for those missions to have their own pastor in future years.
In 1963, he was assigned to St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City and a year later joined the Mission Band working out of Paterson, N.J. In 1967, Fr. Fred became a U.S. army chaplain and served in Vietnam.
In 1970, he was reassigned to Thomasville as pastor and guardian, and six years later he was appointed pastor and guardian of Immaculate Conception Shrine in Atlanta, Ga. In 1981, he became pastor of St. Bonaventure Parish in Allegany, N.Y. In 1985, Fr. Fred returned to Thomasville to assist Bishop Raymond Lessard as vicar for religious in the diocese.
Fr. Fred served Holy Name Province and the people of God with zeal, enthusiasm and a deep Franciscan spirituality.
Fr. Fred died in Warwick, N.Y., on July 22, 1987. He asked that his funeral be “a happy celebration of my belief in the resurrection and in our Franciscan life.” He was 59 years old, a professed friar for 34 years and a priest for 31 years.