Franciscan

Remembering Fr. Paul Desch, OFM

He had a 'deep spirit of prayer'

(Fr. Greg Friedman reminisced about Fr. Paul Desch on Facebook the day after he died.)

Fr. Paul Desch, one of my favorite professors in our college years, passed away last night after surgery on Monday. He taught us philosophy, especially his unique take on "philosophical psychology," and had a deep spirit of prayer from which he drew his inspired preaching. He usually gave "introductions" to the readings at Mass, which were mini-homilies, but always helpful, and his sermons were delivered with great enthusiasm.

In one of his courses, a small group study of the philosophy of aesthetics, he asked us all to "just take a few moments to reflect in silence." Minutes later, I realized we all--including Paul--had fallen asleep! On another occasion, in a committee meeting, when I had shared some grandiose idea of mine for a proposal, he sighed deeply and said, "Greg, I have to be honest. I have no idea what you’re talking about!"

I loved to ask him in later years what he was reading--he loved novels--and we all enjoyed his booming renditions of old favorite songs (Old Man River was his best) at our chapter gatherings. He was a great influence on my Franciscan and priestly life! Rest in peace!

–Fr. Greg Friedman, OFM

Fr. Paul’s body will be received at noon on Tuesday, July 25, at St. Clement Church in St. Bernard. The Mass of Christian Burial is at 1 p.m. Burial will follow immediately after.

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