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The U.S. District of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) is deeply saddened to announce the unexpected passing of Fr. Christopher Darby, who died of a heart attack on Saturday, March 18.
Father had served as a priest for over twenty years and, providentially, gone to confession the night before. He received conditional Extreme Unction when it was discovered that he had collapsed. Father was known for his devotion to Our Lady and, by all appearances, was saying the rosary just before he died. We commend his soul to your prayers and share a brief biography and funeral information below.
From the Verbum of summer, 2000:
"Fr. Christopher Darby has been ordained to the holy Priesthood, responding to a vocation that was born in the daily Latin Mass of his childhood. He was born on September 13, 1958, in a little town called Stayton, Oregon. Although his mother was not Catholic when he was born, she soon came into the Church through the influence of his paternal grandmother. When he was nine, his family moved to Portland, Oregon, and wound up in the most liberal parish in the city. Soon after, his parents lost the Faith and went on ‘a religious odyssey,’ going from church to church, winding up in a so-called ‘Bible church.’ Although he did not resist, young Christopher did not like their ‘worship services.’ After the death of his mother in 1982, Fr. Darby became very close to his grandmother and went to Mass with her frequently. Remembering the old Canon in English from the beginning of the liturgical revolution, he was appalled by the changes in the Mass prayers. He took an instant dislike to the new liturgy but resolved to return to the Church. He found in the “New Church” many of the same Protestant things he had wanted to leave behind, and he was “barely holding on” to the Faith.
One day, he came across an edition of The Wanderer, and he discovered that there were other Catholics who agreed that there were problems in the Church. Eventually, after becoming acquainted with Fr. Eugene Heidt, a friend of the Society in Oregon, he made his first Ignatian retreat in 1993. There, he felt a renewed desire to test a possible vocation to the Priesthood. Although he was concerned about his age, he applied to the Seminary and was accepted for the Fall class of 1994. He considers that the key to his preparation was learning to practice mental prayer faithfully.
Father Darby's first assignment was at St. Ignatius Retreat House in Ridgefield, CT, from where he took care of St. Jude's Church in Philadelphia, PA. He served in subsequent assignments in Post Falls, ID; Browerville, MN, where he served for a time as prior and cared for the Sisters of the SSPX at the Sacred Heart Novitiate; Chicago, IL; and, since 2020, as assistant pastor at St. Vincent's in Kansas City, MO.
Please join the priests and religious of the Society in praying for Father’s soul. May God quickly receive His good and faithful servant into the halls of Heaven. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.