Photo credit Mark McKenna. This is us praying the rosary right after we learned at the press conference that Fr. Eric was deceased. Of all the church ministries, leading the rosary every Sunday before mass and many other occasions was the first church responsibility I volunteered for and it was with the permission and encouragement of Fr. Eric.
We had also prayed the rosary that morning when Deacon Frank Weber came into church to let us know, "something was terribly wrong with Fr. Eric." We could not complete it as we had to exit church since the police had arrived and were securing all of the church property.
This was Fr. Eric's obituary written by Monsignor Daniel Whelton. I hope it gives those of you who did not know Fr. Eric some idea of the man we loved and respected so much.
Requiescat in pacem, Fr. Eric, 1957-2014
Fr. Eric Freed was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1957 to Eugene and Laura Freed. He was raised in Covina, Calif., and graduated from Northview High School in 1975. He attended Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles where he graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy. In 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 PeiroShirayanagi 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. Fr. Freed came to the Diocese of Santa Rosa in 1999 and served as Parochial Vicar at St. Joseph, Cotati until mid-2001, with a two-month assignment at St. Francis Solano, Sonoma in the summer of 1999. In August 2001, he was appointed Administrator of St. Mary’s, Arcata where he ministered for one year. From 2002 until mid-2005 he was the Chaplain at St. Francis High School, Mountain View, Calif. 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 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. Fr Freed also taught Religious Studies at Humboldt State University, a course well received by the students. Fr. Freed ministered to the Japanese Catholic Community in San Francisco and Santa Clara County. He wrote and translated the story of a Hiroshima bombing survivor, Hiroko Takanash, who related her experience in the book titled “The Experience of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima in Poem.” In 2011, 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. Fr 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.
-- Msgr. Daniel P. Whelton