Justin Eccher, OFM
1903 – 1988
Fr. Justin Eccher, OFM, was born on Aug. 13, 1903, in Santa Caterina, Italy. At age 19, he entered the Franciscans in Trent in 1922 and professed temporary vows the following year. In 1929, Fr. Justin made his solemn profession of vows and was ordained a priest.
Fr. Justin went to China as a missionary in 1931. He served as pastor in Shin Chow Fu and Kuanchi-Shien. He built churches in Kuanchi-Shien and Thien Chin-Heor. On his way back to Italy in 1940, Fr. Justin found himself in New York City. Because of the outbreak of World War II, he was unable to continue on to Italy. His “stopover” became a permanent assignment to Holy Name Province.
He ministered at Holy Cross Parish in the Bronx, where he was a popular confessor. Fr. Justin became a member of Holy Name Province in 1955 and was assigned as an assistant at St. Joseph Parish in East Rutherford, N.J. He served there for 26 years.
Fr. Justin was a faithful friar and a dedicated priest who heard thousands of confessions and spent hours visiting the sick. A confrere summed up Justin’s life with one word: fidelity.
He died Sept. 5, 1988, at St. Anthony Hospital in Warwick, N.Y. Fr. Justin was 85 years old, a professed friar for just short of 65 years and a priest for 59 years.