Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord

I heard of this story last week.

It deserves an entry, even if it’s late. Word has it that he was to celebrate his 80th anniversary as a priest in a month.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

The world’s oldest Benedictine monk died today at St. Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, Ind.

Father Theodore Heck, 108, died in the monastery’s infirmary.

Born Jan. 16, 1901 in Chariton, Iowa, Heck was ordained to the priesthood May 21, 1929. He earned a Ph.D in education at The Catholic University of America in 1935, and for more than 50 years taught in St. Meinrad’s minor and major seminaries and held various administrative positions in the St. Meinrad schools.

He was subprior (the third highest leader) at the monastery for 17 years and served as prior (second-highest leader) for three years. He was a founding member of the American Benedictine Academy, serving as its first president from 1947-1957.

At age 70, he began 17 years of pastoral service as vicar of St. John Chrysostom Catholic Church in New Boston, Ind. During these years, he continued to teach on the college faculty.

The Office of the Dead will be prayed at 7 p.m. Friday in the Archabbey Church followed by visitation until 9 p.m. Visitation on Saturday will be from 8 to 9:45 a.m. in the Archabbey Church, followed by the funeral Mass at 10 a.m.

Burial will follow in the Archabbey Cemetery.