Photo : Hoofd van een oude man met tonsuur, Johannes Arnoldus Boland, after Polidoro da Caravaggio, 1860, cropped | Rijksmuseum

In the early hours of the evening of Wednesday, 26th May 2021, our confrere Father Bede Classick, O.S.B., fortified by the Sacraments of the Church, peacefully passed to God in the Abbey Infirmary. Father Bede had suffered for some time with congestive heart failure, and was under the care of his physician. At the time of his death, he was serving as an appointed member of the Abbey’s Board of Directors and Senior Council, was Treasurer of Saint Martin’s University, an ex officio member of the University’s Board of Trustees, and also a member of several Board committees.

Edward Classick was born to Edward and Alice Hirst Classick, on 14th November 1940, in Newark, New Jersey. His early education took place in New Jersey. He later received a B.A. from St. Benedict’s College, Atchison, Kansas, and an S.T.M. from the Union Theological Seminary, New York City. Father Bede made his first profession of monastic vows as a Benedictine at St. Paul’s Abbey, Newton, New Jersey, a monastery of the St. Ottilien Congregation, in 1962, and in 2003 formally transferred his stability to Saint Martin’s Abbey, a monastery of the American Cassinese Congregation. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1967 at St. Mary’s Abbey Church, Morriston, New Jersey, by Bishop Lawrence B. Casey.

Father Bede’s many assignments at St. Paul’s included that of Guestmaster, work in the Abbey’s Business Office, Oblate Director, and Prior. During his two decades at Saint Martin’s, in addition to his University-related work and membership on Abbey boards, Father Bede exercised his priestly ministry regularly for many years at Sacred Heart Church, Lacey, where he was a great favorite of many of the parishioners.

Father Bede was a humble gentle man, a kind and positive presence in community. He always had a ready smile and a twinkle in his eye. One of his University colleagues observed that he really lived the “ear of the heart”, and one never felt he was not listening to you. Father Bede was a great lover of classical music, an avid reader of the Church Fathers, history-related books, and current favorites. He loved traveling, and save for a visit to cousins in England, native land of his late parents, his travel to Germany, Italy, Africa and China was mainly on assignment from his community. He took his almost daily walks religiously, and relaxed by doing the crossword puzzle from The New York Times.

In addition to his Benedictine community and many colleagues and friends, he is survived by his twin sister, Pat Classick, of Plano, Texas, who spent several days with her brother shortly before he passed to God.

The funeral Mass and the burial of Father Bede’s remains in the Abbey Cemetery will be private. You are asked to keep a remembrance of Father Bede and his Benedictine community in your prayers.

Abbot Marion Nguyen, O.S.B & Monastic Community