(Updated on July 15, 2020)
SILVER SPRING, Md. — Christopher Posch, OFM, 58, a professed Franciscan friar for 30 years and a priest for 25, died on July 5 at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, where he had been hospitalized since early June with pneumonia. He had served since 2016 as pastor of St. Camillus Parish, where funeral services were held.
After a wake on July 10, a Mass of Resurrection was celebrated on July 11 at 10 a.m. Larry Hayes, OFM, parochial vicar at St. Camillus, celebrated the Mass and Michael Duffy, OFM, gave the homily. Saturday’s liturgy was live-streamed on the St. Camillus Facebook page. More information is available from the parish office on the St. Camillus website.
“With the death of Chris, we have lost a joyful brother, a passionate leader, a humble servant, a compassionate companion, a warm welcomer, a tireless man for others, and a faithful follower of Jesus Christ,” said Provincial Vicar Larry Hayes, OFM, who lives at St. Camillus.
“I have read no finer tribute to Chris,” he added, “that the following note I received from a diocesan priest from Delaware: ‘Chris was a wonder in his zeal and his understanding of people’s souls. He was indefatigable in: distance run, numbers of people he influenced and mastery of managing. He could speak the truth, yet always in a positive way. He had a good head and a tremendous heart. He had 18 years here in the Wilmington Diocese. In my estimation, he did more for the Church in Wilmington than any priest I have ever known. He did our diocese a huge favor by his pastoral initiative. Sunday Mass in Spanish is now offered at 20 parishes or chapels. There are many grieving him. It is a little hard to imagine he is gone. He was bigger than life, and tireless in ministry and in compassion.’ Take this remembrance, multiply it by ten to include the various groups he served—from the FVMs to folks in Guatemala, Bolivia and beyond, add a large dollop of fraternal glue, more than a sprinkle of zaniness, and wrap it in a soft blanket that matches the tenderness of Chris’ heart…and you begin to get a picture of our brother. May he now be one with his mother Eileen and all the saints in the presence of Love itself.”
Chris was born on March 7, 1962, in Astoria, Queens, New York, to Anthony and Eileen (née Maloney) Posch. After graduating from Plainview-Old Bethpage High School, he obtained a bachelor of science degree in computer science in 1984 from Manhattan College in New York City.
Before joining the Order, Chris taught at a Catholic high school on Long Island and volunteered at a soup kitchen. In 1989, he was received into the Order of Friars Minor at the Province’s novitiate in Brookline, Massachusetts, where he made his first profession of vows on June 2, 1990. He earned a master of divinity degree from Washington Theological Union, and studied philosophy at St. Joseph College and the University of Hartford — both in Hartford, Connecticut. Chris professed his final vows on Sept. 17, 1994, at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City before Provincial Minister Anthony Carrozzo, OFM. He was ordained a priest on May 13, 1995, at St. Anne Church in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, before Bishop Peter Rosazza.
Chris’s first assignment after ordination was to St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Camden, New Jersey, where he served as parochial vicar from May 1995 until May 1998.
In 1998, Chris was assigned to Wilmington, Delaware, where he worked at the Hispanic Ministry Office of the Diocese of Wilmington. For the next 18 years, in his roles as associate director, interim director, and director, Chris celebrated Mass for the Hispanic community and helped immigrants and others in need. His role involved supervising more than 20 parishes with Hispanic ministries which he either started or for which he trained lay leaders to nurture. He also brought these skills to the Provincial level, chairing the HNP Hispanic ministry committee, which organized retreats and two Encuentro gatherings.
In May 2016, Chris was appointed pastor of St. Camillus Parish, a community of many ethnic backgrounds where Mass is offered in three languages.
Chris had served since 2002 as a site supervisor for the Province’s Franciscan Volunteer Ministry, through which young adults serve the marginalized with Franciscan communities. During his religious life, Chris participated in many advocacy events to help the poor and marginalized. He could often be seen at demonstrations in the Washington, D.C., area advocating for immigrant rights.
He is survived by his father Anthony Posch of New Orleans, a brother Michael of Southaven, New York, and two sisters – Elizabeth Kohl of Centerport, New York, and Kathy Posch of New York City.
Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars – Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.
— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas
- “Profile: Christopher Posch Celebrates 25 Years as a Friar” – Sept.16, 2015, HNP Today
- “Friars Share Blessings with More than 1200 at Franciscan Encuentro” by Chris Posch – Nov. 7, 2012, HNP Today
- “Fourth of July and Immigration” by Christopher Posch, OFM – July 4, 2012, HNP Today
- “Fr. Posch head of Hispanic Ministry office for 18 years, leaving diocese to be a pastor” – Feb. 16, 2016, The Dialog
- Franciscan Volunteer Ministry website