Father Paul A. Reich, SM, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and professed first vows in the Society of Mary (Marianists) in 1946, perpetual vows in 1950, ordained in 1957.
Father Reich, who served at St. Joseph as associate pastor for 29 years, died April 4 in Dayton, Ohio, at age 90. A funeral Mass was offered April 12 at Queen of Apostles Chapel in Dayton.
Deacon Vito Piazza Sr. of the parish of St. Joseph in Sykesville explained Fr. Reich; "...told me that each and every time you preach, you speak about the love of God and the love of Jesus Christ,” remembered Deacon Piazza, director of St. Mary’s Spiritual Center and Historical Site on Paca Street in Baltimore. “It was simple advice, but extraordinarily profound. It was his credo that I adopted.”
Father Reich, spent all his ministry at St. Joseph leading the RCIA program that welcomes people into the Catholic Church. Deacon Piazza estimated that Father Reich was responsible for initiating more than 500 people into the Catholic Church.
Deacon Piazza called Father Reich a “wonderful, gentle confessor” and an “extraordinary teacher.”
After attending college at the University of Dayton, he studied theology and prepared for the priesthood at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. Taking his classes in French and Latin, the young seminarian studied with seminarians from other religious orders including Redemptorists and Dominicans. He was ordained in Switzerland on July 14, 1957.
Father Reich told the Review that he remembered thinking during his ordination that he was becoming a person “to be truly of service to other people.”
Father Reich was a theology, Latin or mathematics teacher at several high schools in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida – often serving as chaplain of athletic teams, according to the 2007 Catholic Review article.
“I’ve never lost the desire to be a priest,” he said. “It’s what I’ve always wanted to be.”
“He really lived his vows,” Deacon Piazza said. “He lived out the Marianist charism of welcome.”
Edited from Obituary on legacy.com - and Archbalt.org - Review