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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Monthly Archives: June 2007
Saturday

Redemptorist Father Martin Crowe, a well-read and multi-talented priest, died June 27, the feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, at St. John Neumann Residence in Saratoga Springs, NY. He was 92 years old.

Father Crowe, one of six children born to Richard and Lucrece Garrity Crowe, was a native of Erie, PA, and grew up in Holy Rosary Parish. On finishing grammar school, he entered the Redemptorist seminary in North East, PA, and completed his education for the priesthood at Mount St. Alphonsus in Esopus, NY. He made his first profession of vows in 1935 and his final profession in 1938. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 23, 1940.

Recognizing his gift for scholarship, his Superiors sent Father Crowe to The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, where he earned a S.T.D. in Moral Theology in 1944. Then, responding to an urgent national need, Father Crowe volunteered to serve as an Army chaplain from 1944 to 1947.

When Father Crowe returned from the Army, he was appointed director of the St. Gerard Guild, a post he held until 1964. Throughout those years, he promoted devotion to the Redemptorist saint, who is know especially as a patron of expectant mothers and their children, as well as couples who are hoping to be blessed with a child. He was in residence at Mission Church in Boston for eight months, then at St. Philomena Church in Pittsburgh (1947-48), Our Lady of Perpetual Help in New York City (1948-65) and again at St. Philomena’s (1965-68).

He was appointed to serve as treasurer at Mount St. Alphonsus in Esopus from 1968 through 1969, before his assignment to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn.

Having outlived most of the confreres with whom he worked in his early years, Father Crowe is best remembered now by people he met through his long ministry in Brooklyn. Sister Bernard Loreto, C.S.J., of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Convent in Brooklyn, recalls meeting him when she returned from her assignment in Puerto Rico in 1952. "He was such a good friend to my sister and brother-in-law," she said. "My sister had rheumatoid arthritis and he visited them a lot. Also, whenever I visited someone in a hospital, there he was. He was wonderful with the sick." Father Francis Browne, one of his former rectors in Brooklyn, said, "He was a delight to live with, a very affirming confrere, especially for a young rector. He was extremely helpful and not afraid to roll up his sleeves and do any job. He did jobs nobody else wanted to do — like counting the money from the collections."

Father Sylvester Feeley, who was with Father Crowe at Our Lady of Perpetual Help for 14 years, described his confrere as "a very educated person who lived a very interesting life." By the time Father Feeley got to know him, Father Crowe was supposedly "retired." "What I really admired about him was that for all the ceremonies and Masses we had, he was there, even when he had to use a cane." He also offered to fill in for confreres as the priest on duty for a given day, just in case there was a sick call or someone came asking for Confession. Since he kept in close touch with so many parishioners and former parishioners, he was often asked to celebrate family weddings or baptize the children or grandchildren.

"He and I met quite a bit, usually for an afternoon coffee break," Father Feeley said. "He was a good companion in the house and very talented." Sister Madeline Therese, C.S.J., who served for many years as a teacher and then principal of Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, came to know Father Crowe in 1970. "He was in charge of C.C.D. and we worked well together," she said. "What was great about it was that he made sure the program had well-trained teachers. He sometimes seemed gruff on the outside, but those who worked with him knew he had a soft heart. He was very kind, loving and caring. He did a lot of things for people that others never knew."

The school accountant was amazed that there were never any repair bills, Sister Madeline Therese said. That was because Father Crowe fixed anything that broke in the rectory, in the school, even in the homes of elderly parishioners. On his days off, he often invited Sister to go with him to visit friends who had moved farther out from the parish: "And he never went without his tool box!" She recalled one time when she was teaching in Bensonhurst and he came looking for her at the convent there. The Sisters told him she was finished with classes for the day and had gone to the beauty shop to get her hair cut. He tracked her down and announced to everyone in the shop that he was looking for his mother. "All the women were looking around to see who could be old enough to be this man’s mother," she said, laughing at the memory.

Father Crowe never lost his love for visiting with people, even when advancing age brought him to St. John Neumann Residence. Father Michael Sergi, the rector there, said: "He was a kind and gentle man. When someone came to see him, he lit up! He could have been talking in the morning about feeling old and I’d come back from an errand later in the day to find a bunch of people had come to see him. He’d be there holding court for his guests."

His youngest sister, Charlotte Fuhrman, said that "he used to walk the streets and he seemed to have a sense of when people needed him. He could fix anything — even broken hearts!"

When their mother died in 1957, their father moved in with Charlotte and Ted Fuhrman and their six children; their home became Father Crowe’s home, too, whenever he had a chance to vacation in Erie. "He was very much a family man and he understood family problems," she said. He remained very close to his many nieces and nephews and their families and when he was dying, his sister and her children were there with him.

Wednesday

Redemptorist Father Martin Crowe, a well-read and multi-talented priest, died June 27, the feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, at St. John Neumann Residence in Saratoga Springs, NY. He was 92 years old.

Father Crowe, one of six children born to Richard and Lucrece Garrity Crowe, was a native of Erie, PA, and grew up in Holy Rosary Parish. On finishing grammar school, he entered the Redemptorist seminary in North East, PA, and completed his education for the priesthood at Mount St. Alphonsus in Esopus, NY. He made his first profession of vows in 1935 and his final profession in 1938. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 23, 1940.

Recognizing his gift for scholarship, his Superiors sent Father Crowe to The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, where he earned a S.T.D. in Moral Theology in 1944. Then, responding to an urgent national need, Father Crowe volunteered to serve as an Army chaplain from 1944 to 1947.

When Father Crowe returned from the Army, he was appointed director of the St. Gerard Guild, a post he held until 1964. Throughout those years, he promoted devotion to the Redemptorist saint, who is know especially as a patron of expectant mothers and their children, as well as couples who are hoping to be blessed with a child. He was in residence at Mission Church in Boston for eight months, then at St. Philomena Church in Pittsburgh (1947-48), Our Lady of Perpetual Help in New York City (1948-65) and again at St. Philomena’s (1965-68).

He was appointed to serve as treasurer at Mount St. Alphonsus in Esopus from 1968 through 1969, before his assignment to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn.

Having outlived most of the confreres with whom he worked in his early years, Father Crowe is best remembered now by people he met through his long ministry in Brooklyn. Sister Bernard Loreto, C.S.J., of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Convent in Brooklyn, recalls meeting him when she returned from her assignment in Puerto Rico in 1952. "He was such a good friend to my sister and brother-in-law," she said. "My sister had rheumatoid arthritis and he visited them a lot. Also, whenever I visited someone in a hospital, there he was. He was wonderful with the sick." Father Francis Browne, one of his former rectors in Brooklyn, said, "He was a delight to live with, a very affirming confrere, especially for a young rector. He was extremely helpful and not afraid to roll up his sleeves and do any job. He did jobs nobody else wanted to do — like counting the money from the collections."

Father Sylvester Feeley, who was with Father Crowe at Our Lady of Perpetual Help for 14 years, described his confrere as "a very educated person who lived a very interesting life." By the time Father Feeley got to know him, Father Crowe was supposedly "retired." "What I really admired about him was that for all the ceremonies and Masses we had, he was there, even when he had to use a cane." He also offered to fill in for confreres as the priest on duty for a given day, just in case there was a sick call or someone came asking for Confession. Since he kept in close touch with so many parishioners and former parishioners, he was often asked to celebrate family weddings or baptize the children or grandchildren.

"He and I met quite a bit, usually for an afternoon coffee break," Father Feeley said. "He was a good companion in the house and very talented." Sister Madeline Therese, C.S.J., who served for many years as a teacher and then principal of Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, came to know Father Crowe in 1970. "He was in charge of C.C.D. and we worked well together," she said. "What was great about it was that he made sure the program had well-trained teachers. He sometimes seemed gruff on the outside, but those who worked with him knew he had a soft heart. He was very kind, loving and caring. He did a lot of things for people that others never knew."

The school accountant was amazed that there were never any repair bills, Sister Madeline Therese said. That was because Father Crowe fixed anything that broke in the rectory, in the school, even in the homes of elderly parishioners. On his days off, he often invited Sister to go with him to visit friends who had moved farther out from the parish: "And he never went without his tool box!" She recalled one time when she was teaching in Bensonhurst and he came looking for her at the convent there. The Sisters told him she was finished with classes for the day and had gone to the beauty shop to get her hair cut. He tracked her down and announced to everyone in the shop that he was looking for his mother. "All the women were looking around to see who could be old enough to be this man’s mother," she said, laughing at the memory.

Father Crowe never lost his love for visiting with people, even when advancing age brought him to St. John Neumann Residence. Father Michael Sergi, the rector there, said: "He was a kind and gentle man. When someone came to see him, he lit up! He could have been talking in the morning about feeling old and I’d come back from an errand later in the day to find a bunch of people had come to see him. He’d be there holding court for his guests."

His youngest sister, Charlotte Fuhrman, said that "he used to walk the streets and he seemed to have a sense of when people needed him. He could fix anything — even broken hearts!"

When their mother died in 1957, their father moved in with Charlotte and Ted Fuhrman and their six children; their home became Father Crowe’s home, too, whenever he had a chance to vacation in Erie. "He was very much a family man and he understood family problems," she said. He remained very close to his many nieces and nephews and their families and when he was dying, his sister and her children were there with him.

 

Rev. Martin Crowe C.Ss.R.

  • Born: September 23, 1914
  • Professed: August 2, 1935
  • Ordained: June 23, 1940
  • Died: June 27, 2007

 

Services

Wednesday

Redemptorist Father William Geiger died unexpectedly at St. Clement Mission House in Ephrata, PA, on Sunday, June 17. A priest who had been ministering to prisoners for the past 30 years, he was found at his desk, having been writing to inmates of the Lancaster County Jail. Father Geiger was 79 years old.

A native of Rochester, NY, Father Geiger was born Oct. 14, 1927, the son of the late George and Gertrude Bradler Geiger. He grew up in St. Andrew Parish and entered the Redemptorist minor seminary in North East, PA, after finishing grammar school. He made his first profession of vows in 1949 and his final profession in 1952. After completing his studies at Mount St. Alphonsus in Esopus, NY, he was ordained to the priesthood on June 20, 1954.

"He was great for putting on plays at North East and for putting on the student movies on Saturday nights," recalled his confrere, Father Carl Hoegerl. "Father Boelcke was the movie man and he chose Bill to help him because he was reliable and conscientious."

Father Hoegerl said that Father Geiger was such a talented preacher – "he had a nice strong voice, was well prepared and interesting" – that his first assignment was to a mission preaching band based at St. Boniface Church in Philadelphia. After serving there from 1956 to 1962, he was sent for two years to Annapolis, MD, to teach preaching to newly ordained Redemptorists. Baltimore Provincial Superior, Father Patrick Woods, said that Father Geiger always loved to preach about Our Lady of Perpetual Help and became known as one of the finest promoters of her devotion in the Province. Other confreres noted that Father Geiger’s own love for Our Lady was a constant feature of his spiritual life.

During what his friend Father Arthur Gildea described as "the toughest time in his life," Father Geiger was assigned next to serve as Prefect of Students at Esopus from 1964 to 1968. It was during this period that students from the St. Louis Province (now Denver Province) merged with those from the Baltimore Province. It was a time of great change on campuses across the country, with the turmoil over the Vietnam War, the rise of the Black Power Movement, and, for Catholics, the challenges brought about by Vatican Council II.

From 1968 to 1972, Father Geiger served as Minister for the Redemptorist Community at North East. Father Hoegerl recalled what a big job this was, as it involved overseeing the farm and the vineyard, as well as tending to other needs of the confreres. "He was a kind man, a gentle man, always willing to help and do things with the community," said Father Lawrence Lover. "He also was very practical with all kinds of mechanics. He also was a great community man, with a great smile and a good sense of humor." Described as well as "a jovial man," Father Geiger "could fix your bad mood or fix your broken light bulb," according to Father Michael Hopkins.

Father Geiger’s first assignment as pastor was to St. Gerard Church in Lima, OH, where he served for the next six years. "Almost everywhere he went, especially at Lima and, later, at Ephrata, he did prison ministry," Father Hoegerl said. In Lima, he went every Saturday morning to the nearby state penitentiary. "These were toughened, hardened people," said Father Arthur Gildea. "He had great compassion for them and he treated them like he would any other parishioner." According to Father Gerard Szymkowiak, who got to know Father Geiger well in the Lancaster County area, he not only visited prisoners, but followed up with them, helping with housing and employment and writing to them monthly.

Father Pierce Kenny, who went to Lima when Father Geiger’s term was finished, found him a hard act to follow. "He was a hard worker at physical labor and when we got there, the parishioners expected us to be there cutting the lawn just as he had done!" Father Lover recalled that his confrere has gained the respect and admiration of the men At St. Gerard because when it came time to paint the school, Father Geiger was with them, a paint cap on his head and a brush in hand.

His administrative talents and his championship of Catholic education were such that at the end of his second three-year term in Lima, Msgr. E. C. Herr, principal of Lima Central Catholic High School (LCC), wrote to Father Joseph Hurley, then Baltimore Provincial Superior, to ask that Father Geiger be able to remain. He wrote, in part: "I know the serious situation that the parish and school were in when Father Geiger came – also our relationship at LCC with St. Gerard’s. It was through the dint of his personality and hard work and leadership that St. Gerard’s parish was turned around. The school is now growing and our relationship is a strong one at LCC. Father Geiger’s introduction of the kindergarten and his strong interest in the children at St. Gerard’s School, together with his constant appearance in the school rooms, has made St. Gerard’s again a strong Catholic school. Frankly, even regarding marriages, there is no one left in the City of Lima amongst the four parishes to whom the young people will go except Father Geiger."

Father Geiger brought those same talents to St. Anthony Church in Lancaster, PA, in 1978. Under Father Geiger’s leadership, the exterior of the church was completely renovated. To help parishioners visualize the progress of the work, Father Geiger build a model of the building in Lego® blocks, with the display growing to keep pace. (Other of his creative works have become local family heirlooms, such as model railroads and doll houses he built to be raffled at the annual parish bazaar.) His talent for preaching was brought forward here, too. He preached the weekly parish novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help and always made himself available to talk about her in other parishes.

In 1984, he was assigned to St. Michael Church in Baltimore, MD. Although there only one year, he envisioned a future for St. Michael’s, not as a parish but as a center for evangelization and mission preaching, with confreres visiting the homes of all the inactive Catholics in Southeast Baltimore.

The following year, he was assigned again to mission preaching, this time based at St. Patrick Church, Enfield, CT. In 1987 Father Geiger was back in Lancaster County, this time as pastor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Church in Ephrata and rector at St. Clement Mission House. Father Gildea, who succeeded Father Geiger there, learned that his confrere had been out daily taking care of the grounds, especially the pool. The pool, which had to be cleaned and chlorinated regularly, was for the use of all the Redemptorists in the area and a swim was usually a prelude to the guests having dinner at St. Clement’s. Father Szymkowiak, who was in residence there while pastoring the St. James Church in Lititz, said, "My whole life I’ve been gardening. I would plant, then he would water the plants." The two worked together on another of Father Geiger’s hobbies – an elaborate model train setup. "He was the engineer and I did all the landscaping for a number of years together," Father Szymkowiak said. Father Geiger’s hobby inspired Father Kenny to find his own – ceramics. He marvelled at how Father Geiger found time to do everything he accomplished and was impressed with the way he lived such a balanced life, he said.

For one year, 1993, Father Geiger served at Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua, NY. He then returned to St. Anthony’s in Lancaster until being assigned again to Ephrata in 1999. Being officially retired then did not make much of a difference in his schedule. Father Patrick McGarrity, pastor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Church, said that his confrere continued to help out in the parish. He also kept up with his prison ministry, even when he began to suffer from narcolepsy and had to depend on Father Szymkowiak as his driver. Father McGarrity said that Father Geiger’s "interest in ministry, his rich Marian spirituality, and his drive to keep helping people were the real highlights of his priesthood."

Father Kenny summed up his confrere’s life in this way: ‘There was not a finer Redemptorist than Father Geiger."

In addition to his brother, Father James Geiger, of St. James Church, Concord, NC, survivors include two sisters, Marie Alekson, of Rochester, NY, and Marge Volpe, of Chapel Hill, NC. Father Geiger is predeceased by a brother, Tom, who lived in Rochester, NY.

The Wake Service is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 20, at Our Mother of Perpetual Help Church, Ephrata. The Funeral Mass will be offered there the following morning at 11 o’clock, with his brother, Redemptorist Father James Geiger, as the main celebrant. Burial will be at St. Clement’s.

Sunday

Redemptorist Father William Geiger died unexpectedly at St. Clement Mission House in Ephrata, PA, on Sunday, June 17. A priest who had been ministering to prisoners for the past 30 years, he was found at his desk, having been writing to inmates of the Lancaster County Jail. Father Geiger was 79 years old.

A native of Rochester, NY, Father Geiger was born Oct. 14, 1927, the son of the late George and Gertrude Bradler Geiger. He grew up in St. Andrew Parish and entered the Redemptorist minor seminary in North East, PA, after finishing grammar school. He made his first profession of vows in 1949 and his final profession in 1952. After completing his studies at Mount St. Alphonsus in Esopus, NY, he was ordained to the priesthood on June 20, 1954.

"He was great for putting on plays at North East and for putting on the student movies on Saturday nights," recalled his confrere, Father Carl Hoegerl. "Father Boelcke was the movie man and he chose Bill to help him because he was reliable and conscientious."

Father Hoegerl said that Father Geiger was such a talented preacher – "he had a nice strong voice, was well prepared and interesting" – that his first assignment was to a mission preaching band based at St. Boniface Church in Philadelphia. After serving there from 1956 to 1962, he was sent for two years to Annapolis, MD, to teach preaching to newly ordained Redemptorists. Baltimore Provincial Superior, Father Patrick Woods, said that Father Geiger always loved to preach about Our Lady of Perpetual Help and became known as one of the finest promoters of her devotion in the Province. Other confreres noted that Father Geiger’s own love for Our Lady was a constant feature of his spiritual life.

During what his friend Father Arthur Gildea described as "the toughest time in his life," Father Geiger was assigned next to serve as Prefect of Students at Esopus from 1964 to 1968. It was during this period that students from the St. Louis Province (now Denver Province) merged with those from the Baltimore Province. It was a time of great change on campuses across the country, with the turmoil over the Vietnam War, the rise of the Black Power Movement, and, for Catholics, the challenges brought about by Vatican Council II.

From 1968 to 1972, Father Geiger served as Minister for the Redemptorist Community at North East. Father Hoegerl recalled what a big job this was, as it involved overseeing the farm and the vineyard, as well as tending to other needs of the confreres. "He was a kind man, a gentle man, always willing to help and do things with the community," said Father Lawrence Lover. "He also was very practical with all kinds of mechanics. He also was a great community man, with a great smile and a good sense of humor." Described as well as "a jovial man," Father Geiger "could fix your bad mood or fix your broken light bulb," according to Father Michael Hopkins.

Father Geiger’s first assignment as pastor was to St. Gerard Church in Lima, OH, where he served for the next six years. "Almost everywhere he went, especially at Lima and, later, at Ephrata, he did prison ministry," Father Hoegerl said. In Lima, he went every Saturday morning to the nearby state penitentiary. "These were toughened, hardened people," said Father Arthur Gildea. "He had great compassion for them and he treated them like he would any other parishioner." According to Father Gerard Szymkowiak, who got to know Father Geiger well in the Lancaster County area, he not only visited prisoners, but followed up with them, helping with housing and employment and writing to them monthly.

Father Pierce Kenny, who went to Lima when Father Geiger’s term was finished, found him a hard act to follow. "He was a hard worker at physical labor and when we got there, the parishioners expected us to be there cutting the lawn just as he had done!" Father Lover recalled that his confrere has gained the respect and admiration of the men At St. Gerard because when it came time to paint the school, Father Geiger was with them, a paint cap on his head and a brush in hand.

His administrative talents and his championship of Catholic education were such that at the end of his second three-year term in Lima, Msgr. E. C. Herr, principal of Lima Central Catholic High School (LCC), wrote to Father Joseph Hurley, then Baltimore Provincial Superior, to ask that Father Geiger be able to remain. He wrote, in part: "I know the serious situation that the parish and school were in when Father Geiger came – also our relationship at LCC with St. Gerard’s. It was through the dint of his personality and hard work and leadership that St. Gerard’s parish was turned around. The school is now growing and our relationship is a strong one at LCC. Father Geiger’s introduction of the kindergarten and his strong interest in the children at St. Gerard’s School, together with his constant appearance in the school rooms, has made St. Gerard’s again a strong Catholic school. Frankly, even regarding marriages, there is no one left in the City of Lima amongst the four parishes to whom the young people will go except Father Geiger."

Father Geiger brought those same talents to St. Anthony Church in Lancaster, PA, in 1978. Under Father Geiger’s leadership, the exterior of the church was completely renovated. To help parishioners visualize the progress of the work, Father Geiger build a model of the building in Lego® blocks, with the display growing to keep pace. (Other of his creative works have become local family heirlooms, such as model railroads and doll houses he built to be raffled at the annual parish bazaar.) His talent for preaching was brought forward here, too. He preached the weekly parish novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help and always made himself available to talk about her in other parishes.

In 1984, he was assigned to St. Michael Church in Baltimore, MD. Although there only one year, he envisioned a future for St. Michael’s, not as a parish but as a center for evangelization and mission preaching, with confreres visiting the homes of all the inactive Catholics in Southeast Baltimore.

The following year, he was assigned again to mission preaching, this time based at St. Patrick Church, Enfield, CT. In 1987 Father Geiger was back in Lancaster County, this time as pastor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Church in Ephrata and rector at St. Clement Mission House. Father Gildea, who succeeded Father Geiger there, learned that his confrere had been out daily taking care of the grounds, especially the pool. The pool, which had to be cleaned and chlorinated regularly, was for the use of all the Redemptorists in the area and a swim was usually a prelude to the guests having dinner at St. Clement’s. Father Szymkowiak, who was in residence there while pastoring the St. James Church in Lititz, said, "My whole life I’ve been gardening. I would plant, then he would water the plants." The two worked together on another of Father Geiger’s hobbies – an elaborate model train setup. "He was the engineer and I did all the landscaping for a number of years together," Father Szymkowiak said. Father Geiger’s hobby inspired Father Kenny to find his own – ceramics. He marvelled at how Father Geiger found time to do everything he accomplished and was impressed with the way he lived such a balanced life, he said.

For one year, 1993, Father Geiger served at Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua, NY. He then returned to St. Anthony’s in Lancaster until being assigned again to Ephrata in 1999. Being officially retired then did not make much of a difference in his schedule. Father Patrick McGarrity, pastor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Church, said that his confrere continued to help out in the parish. He also kept up with his prison ministry, even when he began to suffer from narcolepsy and had to depend on Father Szymkowiak as his driver. Father McGarrity said that Father Geiger’s "interest in ministry, his rich Marian spirituality, and his drive to keep helping people were the real highlights of his priesthood."

Father Kenny summed up his confrere’s life in this way: ‘There was not a finer Redemptorist than Father Geiger."

In addition to his brother, Father James Geiger, of St. James Church, Concord, NC, survivors include two sisters, Marie Alekson, of Rochester, NY, and Marge Volpe, of Chapel Hill, NC. Father Geiger is predeceased by a brother, Tom, who lived in Rochester, NY.

The Wake Service is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 20, at Our Mother of Perpetual Help Church, Ephrata. The Funeral Mass will be offered there the following morning at 11 o’clock, with his brother, Redemptorist Father James Geiger, as the main celebrant. Burial will be at St. Clement’s.

 

Rev. William Geiger C.Ss.R.

  • Born: October 14, 1927
  • Professed: August 2, 1949
  • Ordained: June 20, 1954
  • Died: June 17, 2007

 

Services