Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Fr. Richard Paul Rohrer has died

Sad news from the diak at my Ukrainian Catholic parish: Fr. Richard "Rick" Rohrer, former longtime pastor of the Ruthenian parish in Cary, NC - SS. Cyril & Methodius - died July 14 while in the Ukraine.

The diak was once one of his parishioners as was another friend. Been to services at SS. C & M at least twice. Once was, many years before I was officially back in the church, serving in the altar at the second friend's wedding. Very moving.

I understand he was Rome-trained so liturgically entirely Orthodox, and 100% behind the teachings of the church. SS. C & M was and likely still is simply a magnet for sound Catholics in the Raleigh area.

There was a strange pattern in my life then, in the early 2000s. I'd reach out to Byzantine Catholic converts, such as at SS. C & M, on my way back into the church, but they'd confuse things by leaving the church for the Orthodox. One of them came back.

Anyway, Fr. Rick was one of the good guys.

Eternal memory.


  1. Oh no, so sorry to hear that. Kept meaning to get to Say Cyril and Methodius, especially now that my son lives in Raleigh. Memory eternal.

  2. From Facebook via Byzcath:

    My name is Father Iouri Koslovskii, and I have the unfortunate duty to address all of you, fr. Rick’s friends, from His Facebook page, with the notice of His passing into the House of the Lord. He died on Sunday night, July 14, at 10:35 PM Kyiv Time (3:35 PM EDT).

    For many of us, Father Rick was so much more than just a Facebook friend. He was a person who always left a mark on the soul of the people that he befriended. With his sincerity, love, intentionality to help and serve, honesty, openness, knowledge, and spiritual integrity he entered lives of so many of us like an angel of God’s calm and simple power.

    His last dream was that of transferring to Ukraine and working on Project Rachel (post-abortion reconciliation ministry). His trip to Ukraine two weeks ago was arduous. After a nine hours flight to Prague, there was no other option but to take a bus into Ukraine, which takes about 17 hours. He was then detained at the border and spent 12 hours sorting out the situation. I was allowed to pick him up late at night, and when I met him at the gate of the facility, I expected to see a tired and exhausted man after several days of sleepless trials. Instead, I was met with this big smile on his face and a spring in his step. Something, I didn’t see in him for years. And it was not just an expression of the end of challenging adventures. It was happiness for having arrived at the place that he longed for in years.

    His last day was the day of the Lord, Sunday. He celebrated a beautiful liturgy in the morning. After lunch, even though it was raining heavily and the temperatures were low, we took a trip together with my family to Stradch, a place of pilgrimage outside Lviv, where monks inhabited caverns since the twelfth century. We visited the church and the graves of the many people who chose to be buried there entrusting their souls to the everlasting prayers of the monks. The same mount became a place of martyrdom for members of our Church at the hand of Soviet soldiers in 1941. We came back to the facility where we attended a dance competition of our students and then during the little dancing night that followed. He asked one of our teachers to a dance. Finished it, bowed and with a smile on his face collapsed to the ground.

    If you knew him, you would know how much he appreciated dancing. Two days ago, he was preaching at the vespers inviting everyone to learn to dance, because otherwise, you will be bored in heaven (Psalms 149:3). The lady that danced with him last said that he probably never realized what happened to him and just kept dancing on, but in front of the Heavenly Altar.

    One of the most joyful people I've known, Prof. Dan Kavka, the diak of Philly's main Ruthenian parish, went much like that. Singing Ruthenian folk songs. Went down mid-song.


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