Father Canice Welsh, O.S.B., 78, died Saturday, Oct. 9, 1999, at Saint Vincent Archabbey, after a long illness. Father Canice was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on May 1, 1921, the son of the late Oliver and Mary (McGrath) Welsh.
He attended Saint Canice Grade School in Pittsburgh, and is a 1939 graduate of Saint Vincent Preparatory School. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Saint Vincent College in 1944 and attended Saint Vincent Seminary from 1942–47.
He entered the Benedictine Monastic community of Saint Vincent Archabbey in 1941. He made simple profession of vows on July 2, 1942, and solemn profession of vows on July 11, 1945. He was ordained a priest in Saint Vincent Archabbey Church by the late Hugh C. Boyle, Bishop of Pittsburgh, on June 15,1947.
Father Canice has served the monastic community primarily in the parish apostolate, however, he began his ministry as a faculty member (1947–55) and as a chaplain (1951–54) of Saint Vincent Preparatory School. He was also on the faculty and staff of the Barry–Robinson School in Norfolk, Virginia (1956–57). He was an assistant pastor at Saint Bernard Church in Hastings, Pennsylvania (1955–56 and 1969–81), Saint Benedict Church in Covington, Kentucky (1957–60), Saint Boniface Church on the North Side, Pittsburgh (1960–62), and Saint Benedict Church, Carrolltown, Pennsylvania (1962–63). He was on the Archabbey’s mission band (1963–69), before being named associate pastor of Saint Gregory the Great Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 1981, where he also served the Virginia Beach Police and City Jail as a chaplain.
Part of Father Canice’s pastoral work included the founding of several radio programs. While stationed at Saint Bernard Church in Hastings, he hosted a radio program on WNCC. In Virginia Beach he had a program entitled “A Parable for Today” and regularly staged “The Sweetgum Shows,” where hundreds of children performed variety acts.
Father Canice was honored in the Allegheny Valley when he risked his life in the freezing waters of the Allegheny River on February 19, 1966, to save the life of a drowning boy. He was preaching a Parish Mission at Holy Family Church in Creighton, Pennsylvania, at the time.
Father Canice is survived by a brother John of Bethel Park, and was predeceased by a brother, Oliver.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Benedictine Health and Welfare Fund, Saint Vincent Archabbey, 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe, PA 15650-2690.