Father Aaron led retreats, parishes, classrooms

Father Aaron Pirrera

Father Aaron Pirrera, OSB, who spent years as an educator for Subiaco Academy and pastor at St. Benedict Church, died Sept. 18 after declining health from diabetes. He was 72.

Born Charles Pirrera on Aug. 7, 1944, in Chicago to Carl and Mary Midiri Pirrera, he was one of two children.

He was raised in Springfield, Ill., and educated at Catholic schools.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in English and French from St. Ambrose College in Davenport, Iowa, in 1966, he joined the Peace Corps. Father Pirrera volunteered for two years in Asmara, Ethiopia, as a teacher, librarian and English tutor to college graduates.

When he returned to the United States, he worked as a librarian, receiving his master’s degree in library science in 1973. In 1978, he followed the Lord’s call to religious life at Subiaco Abbey.

He made his first profession of vows in 1980, receiving the name Aaron. Father Pirrera studied at Beda College in Rome for the priesthood, making his final vows as a monk on Sept. 14, 1983. He was ordained a priest Aug. 10, 1985.

Father Pirrera served in several roles throughout the years at Subiaco, including vocations director, director of formation, retreat director and director of development.

He also worked as a teacher and served as chairman of the English department for two years and from 2001 to 2005 he was headmaster.

Father Pirrera served as pastor of St. Mary Church in Altus for about a year and at St. Benedict Church at Subiaco from 2005 to May 2016 when his failing health forced him to move to the Abbey Health Center.

“Father Aaron brought vivacity, generous compassion and understanding and a great sense of humor. Each of these qualities of character were rooted in and reflected in Father Aaron’s love for the Church and the people of God, while at the same time endearing him to his parishioners, confreres and friends, as well as benefactors and guests of the abbey,” the abbey stated.

There were no immediate survivors.

A Christian Wake service was held Sept. 20 and a funeral Mass was Sept. 21 at St. Benedict Church at Subiaco.

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