Father Paschal N. Kneip, O.S.B., a monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey, died Friday, May 24, 2013. He was born in Pittsburgh on July 17, 1924. He is the son of the late John F. Kneip and Ethel (Davies) Kneip. He is one of six children. His siblings, Carol Mason, Mae Wynne, Arthur, John, Jr., and Anthony Kneip, are all deceased.
He attended Saint Ambrose Grade School in Pittsburgh, and is a 1943 graduate of Saint Vincent Preparatory School. He received a bachelor of arts degree in 1948 from Saint Vincent College, and studied for the priesthood at Saint Vincent Seminary.
He entered the Benedictine monastic community of Saint Vincent Archabbey in 1945. He made simple profession of vows on February 13, 1946, and solemn profession of vows on February 10, 1949. He was ordained a priest in Saint Vincent Archabbey Church by Bishop John Dearden of Pittsburgh on May 15, 1951.
For most of his priestly life he served in the pastoral and secondary education apostolates of the Archabbey. After ordination he served as parochial vicar of Saint Gertrude Parish, Vandergrift (1951); Saint Mary Parish, Erie (1951-60); Saint Gregory the Great Parish, Virginia Beach, Virginia (1960-66); Sacred Heart Parish, Jeannette (1967); and Queen of the World Parish, St. Marys (1966). While serving in pastoral apostolates, he also taught at Barry Robinson School for Boys, Norfolk, Virginia (1960-66); Greensburg Central Catholic High School, Greensburg (1967); Elk County Christian High School (1966); Saint Pius High School, Savannah, Georgia (1967); and Benedictine Military School and Benedictine Priory, Savannah, Georgia (1967-74). He taught mathematics and moral and social guidance while at Benedictine Military School and Barry Robinson School. He also served as procurator and business manager at the Benedictine Priory in Savannah.
From 1974 to 1981, he served as pastor of Saint Gertrude Parish in Vandergrift. For 19 years (1981-2000), he was pastor of Saint Gregory the Great Parish, Virginia Beach, Virginia. In 2000 he was named senior priest at Saint Gregory the Great Parish, and in 2003, he was assigned pastor at Saint Andrew the Apostle Parish, Chincoteague Island, Va., until his retirement to the Archabbey in 2011.
Father Paschal was a member of the Diocesan Priest Council and the Executive Board for the Dioceses of Greensburg and Richmond. He also served on the Saint Vincent College Board of Directors. In Richmond, he served on the Diocesan Development Board, the Board of Directors for Marian Manor (an adult retirement home), the Board of Directors for Our Lady of Perpetual Help Health Care Center (Alzheimer’s disease and other illnesses) and the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Christian and Jewish Outreach of South Hampton Roads.
While he was pastor at Saint Gertrude Parish, Vandergrift, he completely restored the school, expanded the cemetery, and began the process of having the church placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.
At Saint Gregory the Great Parish, he managed a number of building projects including the construction of church, social hall, cafeteria, middle school, and pre-school. He also directed the renovation of the office and meeting room complex, the gymnasium, the Knights of Columbus Hall, library, kindergarten, athletic room and storage building for the school as well as the convent and priests’ residence. Ten properties containing homes and ten acres of ground were purchased for school and parish expansion. In recognition of his service, the parishioners named a building on the Parish campus “Paschal Hall.” In 2003, Father Paschal accepted the invitation of Bishop Walter Sullivan to become pastor of Saint Andrew the Apostle Parish in Chincoteague, Va., where he managed the construction of a new parish social hall.
In recognition of his outstanding support for Catholic education over the years, Father Paschal was named “priest most supportive of Catholic education” by the Richmond Diocesan School Board in 1984. In 2000, he received the “That in All Things God May be Glorified” Award from Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia. The National Catholic Educational Association Award was received for the dedication and contribution to Catholic education in the Diocese of Richmond. He received the Christo Rey Award from the Hispanic Catholic community of Tidewater for loyal and dedicated commitment to the Hispanic community. Father Paschal was also presented with the Special Support Award from the Naval Security Group at Northwest and Fort Story in Virginia Beach. In 1995 Father Paschal received the Saint Vincent Seminary Alumnus of the Year. In honor of Father Paschal’s commitment to children and families, the Reverend Paschal N. Kneip Scholarship Fund was established in his honor at Saint Vincent Archabbey in 2005. The scholarship helps to provide education for candidates for the priesthood or religious life.
The body will be received at the Elizabeth J. Roderick Center of Saint Vincent Archabbey at 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 28, with viewing to follow in the parlor of the Roderick Center until 7 p.m. The body will be transferred to the Basilica for a vigil service at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B., at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 29 in the Archabbey Basilica. Interment will follow in the Saint Vincent Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Rev. Paschal N. Kneip, O.S.B., Scholarship Fund, Saint Vincent Archabbey, 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe, PA 15650.