The Rev. Claude Pollak, O.S.B., a monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey, died Monday, February 16, 2004. He was 73 years old. Father Claude was born May 26, 1930 in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. He had one sibling, Lenart J. Pollak of Liberty Boro, Pennsylvania.
He attended St. Stephen Parochial School and was a 1948 graduate of Saint Vincent Preparatory School. He received a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy in 1953 from Saint Vincent College, a master of arts degree in history in 1961 from the University of Pittsburgh and pursued further graduate studies at the University of Chicago from 1960-1963 and 1969-1976. He also studied theology at Saint Vincent Seminary from 1953-1957.
Father Claude made simple profession of vows on July 2, 1951 and solemn profession on July 11, 1954, before Archabbot Denis Strittmatter at Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica. He was ordained a priest May 26, 1957 by the late Bishop Hugh Lamb of the Diocese of Greensburg at the Archabbey Basilica.
Father Claude served as a prefect (1951-1958), coach (1952-1958) and teacher (1956-1958) at Saint Vincent Preparatory School. After pursuing graduate work at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Chicago, he served as a missionary in Taiwan (1963-1969, 1976-1990). While in Taiwan he was a lecturer in the History Department, (1966-1968), associate professor in the Graduate School of History (1976-1990) and director of the Graduate School of History (1977-1986) at Fu Jen Catholic University in Taipei. He also served as pastor of Saint Benedictπs Parish in Linkou, Taiwan. Since his return from Taiwan he served as parochial vicar at St. Bruno Church, Greensburg (1990-1992), pastor of Saint Nicholas Church, Nicktown (1992-2002), and pastor of Queen of the World Church, Saint Marys (2002-2003). In 2003 he was named pastor of St. Marys Church, Forbes Road, and administrator of St. Bede Church, Bovard. He was a member of the St. Bernard Literary Society at Saint Vincent and Phi Alpha Theta at the University of Pittsburgh.
Father Claude’s body will be received at the Elizabeth Roderick Center, Saint Vincent Archabbey, on Thursday, February 19, at 3:00 P.M. Viewing will be held in the parlor of the Elizabeth Roderick Center from 3-5 P.M. and 7-9 P.M. on Thursday and 3-5 on Friday. A wake service will be held in Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica at 7:15 P.M. on Friday, February 20, after which Fr. Claude’s body will lie in state in the Basilica until 9 P.M. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica on Saturday, February 21, at 10:30 A.M.
In lieu of floweres, memorial contributions may be made to the Benedictine Health and Education Fund at Saint Vincent Archabbey, 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe, PA 15650.