Father Richard Lifrak, ss.cc., an ordained member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary-United States Province, passed away suddenly on Friday at 12:57 p.m., February 12, 2021, at Edinburg Regional Hospital in Edinburg, Texas.
Father Richard, who celebrated his 70th birthday last September 13, was born in Fall River, Massachusetts. In addition to his SSCC brothers and sisters, he is survived by his brother; Eric (Bruhilda Chavez) Lifrak from California, a nephew, and several cousins.
In 1987, after converting from the Jewish faith, Fr. Richard entered the novitiate of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts in Fairhaven, Massachusetts and professed his first vows on August 3, 1988 in Wareham, Massachusetts. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 16, 1995 in Fairhaven.
During his first year of ministry, Fr. Richard served as a Deacon and then Associate Pastor at St. Margaret of Scotland Parish in Seat Pleasant, Maryland. In 1996 he was transferred to Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in New Bedford, Massachusetts where he was assigned as Associate Pastor and remained there until 2002.
In 2002 he was asked to become a member of the new SSCC Community in Mission in Artesia, New Mexico with other members of the Congregation from various parts of the country. He missioned with brothers and sisters in Artesia until 2008. Returning to Fairhaven, Fr. Richard put on a few different "hats" serving as Vocation Director for the USA East Coast Province as well as Spiritual Director of the Men of the Sacred Hearts, a national organization devoted to promoting Enthronement in the home.
In 2010, Fr. Richard was assigned as Associate Pastor to Sacred Heart Parish in Edinburg, Texas. Fluent in Spanish, he soon became beloved among the parishioners in the Rio Grande Valley. He remained in Texas until November 2013 when he was again asked by the General Government in Rome to become part of an international group of SSCC missionaries to serve the Catholic Community in Louvain, Belgium. Unfortunately, the project did not work out and, to the extreme happiness of the parishioners, Fr. Richard Lifrak returned to Sacred Heart Parish in Edinburg in 2015 where he remained until his death.
The community is invited to attend a visitation today, Tuesday, February 16th from 4:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. with a Holy Rosary to be prayed at 6:30 p.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 501 East Kuhn Street in Edinburg. A Celebration of his life and death will take place at Sacred Heart Catholic Churchin on Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. in Edinburg. Principal celebrant will be Most Reverend Daniel Flores, Bishop of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Burial will take place at a later date in the Sacred Hearts Community Cemetery in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Local funeral arrangements were entrusted to Johnny Garcia, Manager/Funeral Director and staff of Ceballos-Diaz Funeral Home in Edinburg.
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