Father William Eckert’s Retirement

For those that know anything about my church in Pittsfield–St. Mark’s–we’ve been blessed through the years with many dedicated Priests.

One, in my view, an automatic Hall of Fame candidate, is Father Bill Eckert.

He passed away on January 18th, after serving as a Priest for 50 years.

Father Eckert first came to Pittsfield about 20 years ago, after time in Brazil and his native northern New Jersey.

I’ve never known a Priest more dedicated to the sick and dying than Fr. Bill.

When my late brother Louis became very ill with cancer, Father Eckert made regular trips to see him in the Boston area.

One of the greatest comforts of all, for our family saddened by Lou’s troubles, was knowing that Bill was with him just two days before he passed, administering the Sacrament of the sick and dying.

The Mass Pike in December, when Lou died, was no easy road to drive either, especially for a man well into his 70’s.

It was no surprise to any of us, that in Father’s last few months on earth, with his residency now at a Pittsfield nursing home, that he continued to say Mass, hear confessions and administer the Sacraments to those he shared time with in their waning days.

We all think about retirement some day, where we can look back at our accomplishments and relax.

Father Eckert did too…but his retirement began, not after his 65’th birthday, but after his last breath.

Thank you Bill, may God bless our Parish again someday with others half as Christlike as you.

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