SALISBURY, Md.- The Rev. Christopher LaBarge looks forward to his new position as the pastor of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Wicomico County, which will take effect on June 25.
Born in Pittsfield, Mass., on May 9, 1953, LaBarge went on to attend Concord High School in Wilmington, Del., and later, the University of Delaware in Newark, Del.
LaBarge began studies for the priesthood at St. Francis de Sales College Seminary in Milwaukee, Wis., for the Xaverian Missionaries and made his first profession in 1978. He graduated from the College Seminary in 1979 and began theological studies at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.
As a Xaverian novice, LaBarge served in the missions in Sierra Leone, West Africa, and studied Italian in Italy.
In 1982, LaBarge left the Xaverian Missionaries, was accepted as a seminarian for the Diocese of Wilmington and transferred to St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1985, he was ordained as a diocesan priest by Bishop Robert Mulvee.
LaBarge served as pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Marydel, Maryland and St. Luke Church in Ocean City, Md., and as associate pastor at Our Lady of Fatima Church in New Castle, Del.; St. Elizabeth Church in Wilmington; Holy Cross Church in Dover, Del.; and most recently as associate pastor at St. Francis de Sales.
“I am pleased to be asked to serve as the twelfth pastor of St. Francis de Sales,” LaBarge said. “It is an incredibly diverse parish and having been here for five years enables me to understand and build on that diversity. I am looking forward to working with the very competent staff and the wonderful parishioners here at St. Francis de Sales.”
LaBarge will replace the Rev. Edward Aigner who is retiring as of that date.
“When I was assigned to St. Francis de Sales Parish 16 years ago, it was with fear and trepidation that I began to serve as pastor of such a large parish,” Aigner said. “I quickly found how blessed I was to be part of such an active and committed faith community. While I will not miss the responsibilities of being the chief administrator of the parish, I will certainly miss the people with whom I have ministered and come to know and love.”
“My retirement will actually be a semi-retirement as I plan to give more time to prison ministry at Eastern Correctional Institution in nearby Westover and to help with sacramental ministry in neighboring parishes.” Aigner added, “I will rely on the prayers of parishioners as I begin this major passage in my life and I hope they know that I will continue to pray for all of them.”