Father Eric Vogt, OSB — 1951-2023

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Father Eric T. Vogt, O.S.B., a monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey for more than 50 years, died Saturday, April 8, 2023. Father Eric served at parishes in the dioceses of Greensburg, Erie and Altoona-Johnstown, Pennsylvania, including in his native St. Marys, in Richmond, Virginia, and Savannah, Georgia. He served in various roles at Saint Vincent College, was a successful baseball coach, and an official for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) in basketball and softball, as well as a PIAA baseball umpire, all for nearly 30 years. He was also chaplain of the St. Marys Police Department and life member and chaplain of the Bucktail Lodge 96 FOP.

Father Eric was born in St. Marys, Pennsylvania on January 14, 1951, a son of the late Robert Vogt, Sr. and Joyce (Wehler) Vogt.  He was the oldest of 12 children.  

He was preceded in death by his sister Cheryl Herzing and his brother Robert (Rote) Vogt. 

Surviving are his siblings Mike (Elaine) Vogt, Ken (Gerry) Vogt, Dale (Jen) Vogt, Judy Vogt, John (Dawn) Vogt and Emily Saline, Joe (Peach) Vogt, all of St Marys; Mary Jo (Joe) Bolitiski of Daguscahonda and Chrissy (Blaine) Stauffer of Lake Luzerne, New York.  He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews; his godson, nephew Mark Bolitiski; and his loving aunts, Mary Lou Seelye, Helen Williams and Emma Vogt.

He attended Queen of the World Grade School in St. Marys, and was a 1968 graduate of Saint Vincent Preparatory School. While he was still a student at Saint Vincent College, he joined the Benedictine monastic community, in 1970. Three years later he earned the bachelor of arts degree in history, then began studies at Saint Vincent Seminary, where he earned a master of divinity degree in 1976.

He made simple profession of vows on July 10, 1971, and solemn profession of vows on July 11, 1974. He was ordained a priest in Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica by the late Bishop William Connare of Greensburg on May 19, 1979.

During his early years in formation, and while a student, he served in various roles at Saint Vincent College, including assistant director of Project Headway (1972-77); prefect (1975-76); admissions counselor (1977-78); dormitory moderator, campus minister, assistant athletic director in charge of intramural athletics, director of the swimming pool and assistant producer of the Saint Vincent Summer Theatre. At the Archabbey he has served as assistant director of Lay Retreats (1972-77). He was a faculty member of Benedictine Military High School, Savannah, Georgia (1976-77).

Following his ordination, he was assigned as associate pastor at Sacred Heart Parish, Jeannette (1979-1982); parochial vicar at Saint Gregory the Great Parish, Virginia Beach, Virginia (1982-86); and Saint Benedict Parish, Carrolltown (1986-88).

He returned to Saint Vincent to serve as head baseball coach (1988-1997). Then followed assignments as parochial vicar at Saint Peter Parish, North Side, Pittsburgh (1997-98), prior to his appointment as pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, New Germany, and Saint John Parish, Summerhill (1998-2002) and pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Saint Marys (2002-2017). In 2017 he was named pastor of Saint Gregory the Great Parish, Virginia Beach, serving there until 2022 when he was named senior associate at Queen of the World, Saint Mary and Sacred Heart parishes in St. Marys.

In the community, Father Eric was a member of the Jeannette Juvenile Commission (1980-82); board of directors of Miners Hospital, Spangler (1986-88); the school board of Bishop Carroll High School, Ebensburg (2001-02); and was chaplain for various Knights of Columbus chapters since 1982. In 1989, he was named an Outstanding Young Man of America. 

In addition to serving as an official for the PIAA from 1988 to 2017, he was an umpire for the Pennsylvania American Legion Baseball (1987-2017). He was named Umpire of the Year by Cambria County American Legion Baseball in 1988. As head baseball coach for Elk County Catholic, at the end of the 2015 season, he had attained 118 career coaching wins in seven years and led the Class-A team to four district championships. The team played in the PIAA State Championship game after going undefeated, losing to Devon Prep in the final by a 2-1 score in extra innings. It was the first state final appearance for Elk County.

There will be services for Father Eric in St. Marys and at Saint Vincent Archabbey. There will be visitation at Queen of the World Church, St. Marys, from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 11. Viewing will continue from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 12, followed by a funeral Mass at noon. A wake service will be held that evening at Saint Vincent Archabbey, with Archabbot Martin de Porres Bartel, O.S.B., serving as principal celebrant and homilist. On Thursday, April 13, there will be a viewing in the wake transept of the Archabbey Basilica from noon to 2 p.m., followed by a concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial at 2 p.m., also celebrated by Archabbot Martin. Brother Albert Gahr, O.S.B., will give a post-communion reflection. The Rite of Committal will follow the funeral Mass in the Mary Mother of Mercy Mausoleum Chapel at Saint Vincent Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Benedictine Health and Welfare Fund at Saint Vincent Archabbey, 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe, PA 15650.