“I am the Light of the World, he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”–John 8:12
REVEREND ERIC FREED It is with profound sorrow that I inform you of the tragic death of Father Eric Freed that occurred in the early hours of Wednesday, January 1, 2014 in the rectory of St. Bernard’s parish, Eureka. The media and other means of social communications have kept people informed as to the nature of his tragic death. Father Freed was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan to Eugene and Laura Freed. He was raised in Covina, California and graduated from Northview High School in the summer of 1975. He attended Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles where he graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy. In the summer of 1979 he entered the Salesian Religious Congregation in Japan where he pursued his studies to the priesthood in the Salesian House of Formation, Jocti, Japan. He completed his studies in Theology at the Pontifical Salesian University, Turin, Italy from 1988-1990. On September 23, 1990 he was ordained to the Priesthood in Tokyo, Japan, by Archbishop Peiro Shirayanagi Seiichi for ministry as a Salesian priest. He ministered in Salesian High Schools as a teacher and chaplain in Ikuei Kosen, Tokyo 1990-1995 and Seikosakiun, Osoka, 1995-1999.
Father Freed came to the Diocese of Santa Rosa on April 1, 1999 and served as Parochial Vicar at St. Joseph, Cotati until August, 2001, with a two month assignment at St. Francis Solano, Sonoma in the summer of 1999. On August 28, 2001, he was appointed Administrator of St. Mary’s, Arcata where he ministered for one year. From August 15, 2002 until the summer of 2005 he was the Chaplain at St. Francis High School, Mountain View, California. Upon his return to the Diocese of Santa Rosa he was assigned as Chaplain at St. Vincent de Paul High School, Petaluma, and was in residence at St. James, Petaluma. In March of 2006 he was assigned as the Chaplain to the Newman Center for Humboldt State University, Arcata, and at the same time ministered as the Parochial Vicar at St. Bernard’s, Eureka. Father Freed also taught Religious Studies at Humboldt State University, a course which was well received by the students. Father Freed ministered to the Japanese Catholic Community in San Francisco and Santa Clara County. He wrote the story of a Hiroshima bombing survivor who related her experience in the book titled “The Experience of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima in Poem.” On January 10, 2001, he was appointed Pastor of St. Bernard’s parish, Eureka and served in that office until his untimely death on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2014.
Father Eric is survived by his father Eugene Freed and his stepmother, Donna and by his brother Will, sisters, Kari, Lisa, Anita and Melissa who live in various parts of the United States. He was preceded in death by his mother, Laura and two brothers, Gene and Michael. He is mourned not only by his own family but his spiritual family as well, especially by those he served in Japan as a Salesian High School teacher, by the Japanese Community of the Bay Area and by the parishioners he served in the various parishes here in the Diocese of Santa Rosa particularly the parishioners of St. Bernard’s parish, Eureka. Father Freed was a compassionate, giving priest with a ready smile, a good sense of humor and he was a sports fanatic. Echoing the words of Jesus to the blind man Bartimeus – “What do you want me to do for you” was how Father Eric lived his priestly life and ministry. He will be greatly missed. May he rest in peace. Letters of condolence may be sent to the Chancery and will be forwarded to the family. Memorial contributions can be sent to the Chancery for the benefit of Humboldt State University Newman Center, Arcata, California.
FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS Vigil Services: Sunday, January 5, 2014 2:00 pm St. Bernard’s, Eureka Scripture/Rosary Fr. Mike Cloney Sunday, January 5, 2014 4:00 pm St. Bernard’s, Eureka Scripture/Rosary Fr. Greg Villaescusa Sunday, January 5, 2014 7:30 pm St. Bernard’s, Eureka Scripture/Rosary Bishop Robert F. Vasa The Church will remain open throughout the night and people are welcome to visit for a time of personal pray and meditation. Funeral Mass: Monday, January 6, 2014 Sacred Heart Church, Eureka, 11:30 am Burial: Monday, January 6, 2014 Internment following the Funeral Mass, St. Bernard’s Cemetery, Eureka Reception: Following the Funeral Mass/Burial all are invited to St. Bernard’s Parish Hall, Eureka, California. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/times-standard/obituary.aspx?n=eric-freed&pid=168888585#sthash.XOqsYp5D.dpuf