Father Vincent F. Welsh, 50, pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Parish in West Chester, died May 16 at his parent’s East Norriton home.
His funeral Mass was celebrated Tuesday, May 20 by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput at SS. Peter and Paul Church. Concelebrants included Father Welsh’s brother Patrick, who was also the homilist, as well as his uncles, Fathers Anthony and Joseph Dieckhaus, and priest classmates from St. Charles Seminary celebrating their 25th anniversary of priesthood on the very date of their ordination in 1989.
The third of six children of James J. and Patricia A. (Dieckhaus) Welsh, Father Welsh attended Visitation B.V.M. School in Trooper and Bishop Kenrick High School, where he played the tuba in the school band.
Although he has two uncles who are diocesan priests, his parents were taken by complete surprise when he chose the priesthood, according to a 1999 interview with The Catholic Standard and Times.
“I didn’t have a clue,” said James Welsh, who had been after his son for not sending away for college applications.
“I was folding clothes when he said, ‘If you don’t mind, I’d like to enter St. Charles Seminary,’” his mother recalled. They were equally surprised a few years later when their fifth child, Patrick, also entered St. Charles.
Father Welsh was ordained May 20, 1989 by Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, and his first assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Christopher Parish in Northeast Philadelphia, followed by St. Monica in South Philadelphia.
After further studies for a licentiate in canon law at the Catholic University of America, he served in the Office of the Metropolitan Tribunal, the Office of the Chancellor and as assistant director of the Office for Clergy.
Father Welsh also served as pastor of St. Philip Neri Parish in Philadelphia, St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Norristown, and since 2012, SS. Peter and Paul, West Chester.
“He always kept the parishioners at heart,” said Peggy Anne Fox, parish office manager. “He tried to make things better for people.”
Although Father Welsh had been very sick from the beginning of the year, the hope in the parish was that he would get better. “He offered up his suffering for the parish,” Fox said.
Father Patrick Welsh noted in his homily that his brother received his diagnosis of cancer 10 years ago precisely on May 20 – the date of his ordination and his funeral. He praised his brother’s love for the priesthood and vibrant public witness of the Catholic faith in his life.
In addition to his parents and his brother Patrick, Father Welsh is survived by his brothers James, Stephen and Michael and his sister, Mary Chris Little; his priest uncles and other aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.
Interment was at Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103