RINGWOOD, N.J. — Funeral services were held last week for Evan Banks, OFM, 85, who died March 21 at Holy Name Friary here. He was a professed Franciscan friar for 63 years and a priest for 58.
Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial March 24 at St. Anthony Church in Butler, N.J.
Evan was born Jan. 12, 1924, in Astoria, N.Y., to John and Hannah Banks. He was baptized Gerard on Jan. 27 at St. Joseph’s Church, Long Island City, N.Y. After completing eighth grade at St. Andrew Avellino School in Flushing, N.Y., he enrolled in St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y., in 1938, where he was a student for six years.
He was received into the Order of Friars Minor in Holy Name Province on Aug. 12, 1944, at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., and given the name Evan. He professed his first vows there Aug. 14, 1945, before Bertrand Campbell, OFM.
He pursued studies in philosophy at St. Stephen’s Friary in Croghan, N.Y., and St. Anthony Friary in Butler. He studied theology at Holy Name College in Washington, D.C., where he professed his final vows on Sept. 17, 1948, before Bertrand. He was ordained to the priesthood June 11, 1950, by Archbishop Amleto Cicognani, apostolic delegate to the United States, in the Chapel of Trinity College, Washington, D.C.
Upon completion of theological studies, he taught at Bishop Timon High School in Buffalo, N.Y., from 1951 to 1954. He then joined the faculty of St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y., as instructor of theology. He was also director of student activities from 1958 to 1963. In 1963, he enlisted as chaplain in the United States Air Force. Four years later, he was re-assigned to St. Bonaventure University, where he served as guardian of the friary until 1973.
Evan then began an extensive ministry at the Franciscan parishes in northern New Jersey, first as parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Holy Angels Parish in Little Falls in 1973 and then as pastor of St. Francis Parish in Wanaque from 1976 to 1982. After a year as parochial vicar at Assumption Parish in Wood-Ridge, he was pastor of Queen of Peace Parish in West Milford (Hewitt) from 1983 to 1991. He last actively served as parochial vicar at St. Anne’s Parish in Fair Lawn from 1991 to 2004. In August, Evan retired to St. Anthony Friary. In November 2006, he was assigned to Holy Name Friary, Ringwood.
A wake was held March 23 at St. Anthony Church with a vigil prayer service at 7:30 p.m. Jeremiah McGinley, OFM, preached the homily at the Mass of Christian Burial. Interment followed at Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Butler.
Evan is survived by his sister-in-law, Priscilla of West Islip, N.Y., a niece, Susan Lynch of West Hartford, Conn., and nephews, John of Kings Park, N.Y., Neil of East Amhurst, N.Y., and Michael to whom condolences may be sent at 928 Locust Street, Philadelphia PA 18107.