The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Priest served as teacher, pastor, chaplain before retirement in 2007

Published: August 8, 2009   
Father Placidus Eckart, OSB, celebrates his 60th anniversary as a Benedictine priest of Subiaco Abbey this year.

SUBIACO -- Father Placidus Eckart, OSB, was born in Subiaco, attended Subiaco Academy and joined the abbey in 1943. This year he marks his 60th anniversary as a Benedictine priest.

He was born to Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Eckart on March 3, 1925. Christened Anton, he attended the local Catholic grade school and attended Subiaco Academy, graduating with the class of 1943.

He entered the novitiate in the fall of 1943 and professed his vows on Oct. 31, 1944, taking the name of Placidus. He was ordained to the priesthood at the abbey on May 24, 1949.

Father Eckart was on the faculty for several years, and from 1950 through 1954 he was given the pastoral care of the two small missions of St. Anthony in Ratcliff and Our Lady of Assumption Church in Booneville. From 1954 until 1957, he was novice master and director of the brothers.

1n 1957, he once again was on the faculty and had the pastoral care of the missions of Ratcliff and Barling. During this time he was also school treasurer. He continued with most of these assignments until 1965.

In 1965, Father Eckart was appointed pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Charleston and the mission of St. Mary Church in Barling.

He was appointed pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Muenster, Texas, in 1968.

In 1978, he was appointed pastor of St. Mary Church in Gainesville, Texas. Subiaco gained this church for pastoral care earlier that summer after withdrawing from St. Mary Church in Fort Worth, Texas. (Gainesville was closer to some of the other parishes that Subiaco served in north Texas than was Fort Worth.) Father Eckart was the first of only two Benedictine pastors in Gainesville.

In 1983, Father Eckart returned to the abbey to be retreat master and assistant to the formation director.

He was named pastor of St. Boniface in Fort Smith in 1984, where he stayed until 1995 when he took a year's sabbatical from pastoral work, but was available for substitute work. In 1996, he once again returned to St. Boniface where he stayed until 1998, when the abbey relinquished pastoral care of that parish.

Father Eckart lived at St. John Center in Little Rock for one year after leaving St. Boniface where he was once again available for substitution anywhere in the diocese.

In 1999, he was appointed pastor of St. Ignatius in Scranton along with its mission of St. Meinrad in Prairie View.

In 2002, he was appointed chaplain of St. Edward Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith where he remained until a weakening condition forced him to retire to the abbey in July 2007, when he took up residence in the abbey's health center.

One work that he has been involved in later in life is that of directing healing retreats at Subiaco Abbey.

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