Rest in Peace Father Wilfred DeRoche

Today Father Wilfred DeRoche, a priest of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, was laid to rest. Father DeRoche helped at my home parish when I was in college-seminary. I will always remember him for his personal holiness and devotion to Our Lady.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend his funeral. I don’t think he would mind, though, because at the same time I was offering a funeral Mass for someone else. Father DeRoche alway cared about providing pastoral care for people.

The last time I saw him I gave him a “first blessing” (there is a custom that newly-ordained priests give “first blessings” which bear special graces). Father DeRoche told me, “We priests usually call each other by our first names so you can call me Wil, but I am going to call you Father because I am so happy that are ordained a priest.” When he told me that tears of gratitude welled in both our eyes. Father DeRoche told me to be devoted to the Holy Eucharist and Our Lady.

I consider myself blessed to have known Father DeRoche. The words of one of his Christmas homilies still ring in my ears years later–it was as if he had been in the manger with the Holy Family and the shepherds! May he rest in peace.

1 Comment

  1. Paulette M. Harlow, OFS says: Reply

    Dear Father Souza, The kinds words you wrote about Father DeRoche were moving. Before he died he mentioned that he wanted to be remembered as a good priest. He was instead a GREAT priest, holy and beloved, who served Our Lord faithfully, wholeheartedly, trustingly, and fearlessly without apology, without rancor, without hesitation, and in a humble manner which drew others ever closer to Jesus’ Eucharistic presence, Mary, and the Holy Catholic church he loved and served so well. God willing you and I may some day meet in person. Until that time we promise to keep you in prayer.
    Meanwhile, here’s a little story you may enjoy, since you are an important part of it:
    God cares about every detail of our lives…even laundry. It was announced at Sunday’s mass that a person was needed to take over the responsibilities of caring for the altar linens, as the wonderful lady who had done so was no longer able to continue. Since we had volunteered for this in the past and knew how to do it, I signed up for the month of May. Unfortunately, only one other person signed up! After morning mass yesterday, Father Joe asked me, as he descended from the altar, if I would collect the linens and take care of them since there were none for today’s mass. I told Father I would be happy to, and although , honestly, my first thought was, “Oh no!” I had to smile. You see, I am a secular Franciscan and I had just asked God to choose a penance for me, and also help me not to be late for morning mass, as I sometimes can be. This prayer He quickly answered!
    This morning I arose an hour earlier than usual so that I could finish ironing.Then, I went on line to double check on the proper folding of the corporal and recheck about using starch or spray on the linens – couldn’t find the answer. Father DeRoche was on my mind, so I decided while seated at the computer to quickly to see if I could read anything more about his life. When I entered his name, I came upon your blog AND directions on laundering and folding the corporal! Using the spray “sizing” with peace of mind and a big smile on my face I ironed away and arrived at mass ten minutes early, laundered linens in hand! God is so good and so are you for providing this valuable information. Thank you and God bless you.
    Your future friends, Paulette (and John) Harlow, OFS, St. Mary’s, Plymouth.

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