LAKE CHARLES – A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated for Rev. Frederick F. “Fred” Russi, 78, a retired priest of the Diocese of Lake Charles, in Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 30. Father Russi, a native of Lafayette, died on Thursday, May 23, 2019.
The Most Reverend Glen John Provost, Bishop of Lake Charles, will be the celebrant with priests of the Diocese concelebrating the liturgy. The Reverend Don A. Piraro will be the homilist. Burial will follow the Mass in New Bethany Cemetery at Saint Charles Center in Moss Bluff.
Visitation will be Wednesday, May 29, from 4 to 8 p.m. in Our Lady Queen of Heaven Church with a Rosary recited at 5 p.m. and a Scripture Service at 6:30 p.m. Visitation continues from 8 a.m. Thursday, until the time of Mass. Rosaries will be recited Thursday at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. 11 a.m. noon, and 1 p.m. in the Church.
He is survived by the Caraways, his adopted family
Father Russi was born January 19, 1941, in Lafayette, to Charles Frederick Russi and Susan Fisk Russi. He graduated from Cathedral High School and began his priestly studies at Immaculata Seminary in Lafayette, then Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans and did post-graduate studies at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.
He earned a B.A. in Philosophy in 1963 and his M.Div. in 1986, both from Notre Dame Seminary. Father Russi was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Lafayette by The Most Reverend Maurice Schexnayder, Bishop of Lafayette, on Dec. 17 1966 and celebrated his First Solemn Mass on Dec. 18, 1966, in Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Lafayette.
His initial pastoral assignment was at St. Landry Catholic Church in Opelousas as an Assistant Pastor and served as chaplain at the high school.
Father Russi served for three years as Assistant Pastor to St. Margaret Catholic Church in Lake Charles, followed by a stint at St. John the Evangelist in Jeanerette, Sacred Heart of Jesus in Broussard, and Immaculate Conception Church in Lake Charles.
In late 1974, he was named Pastor to St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Oberlin, serving there for 12 years, before being assigned as Pastor of St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Raymond in 1986 and serving there until June, 1997. He was thence named pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Oakdale, ministering there until his retirement in June, 2004.
In 1980, upon the establishment of the Diocese of Lake Charles, Father Russi was incardinated as a priest of the diocese. He served as a member of the Clergy Personnel Board of the diocese on two separate occasions as well on the diocesan Vocation Advisory Board.
“Padre,” as he was affectionately known by many, was a lover of all of God’s creation and greatly appreciated the outdoors. An avid hunter and fisherman, he dreamed of taking an African Safari to hunt big game and see unique wildlife. He enjoyed training dogs for hunting and field trials; Labrador retrievers and pointers were his favorite breeds. He also enjoyed the game of golf and belonged to several golfing groups over the years. He was a gifted poet, as well, although he seemed to keep that talent rather private.
Eternal rest, grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace. Amen.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.