Father Paul Allen Kaech
October 12, 2023
Father Paul Allen Kaech went home to the Lord Jesus unexpectedly, on Monday, October 2, 2023, in his home in Shelton. Born in Chehalis, Washington, on February 8, 1964, to Edward and Louise Kaech, he was the youngest of seven children.
Paul grew up in Frances, Washington, and attended Lebam Elementary and Willapa Valley High School in nearby Menlo, Washington. At a young age, Paul would be found playing on the small family farm with cousins, many of whom lived within a five-mile radius. As a young boy, he took accordion lessons, served as an altar boy and would say his prayers before bed every night starting as soon as he learned them. This was often followed by his demanding a hug and kiss of his older sister who was sent to tuck him in, proceeding to hang around her neck to the point he was almost back out of the blankets and bed, only to have to start all over again. Little brothers!
He celebrated the holidays - Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas - with large family gatherings.
Paul always had a special interest in his large family history. He liked to talk and gather stories from all generations of the family. This led to an interest after high school to live and work in Switzerland, something he did for a year. He would remember each of these many stories and would retell them over the years, often in his homilies as a priest. Family life gave him excellent material for what marriage, love, forgiveness, and faith was all about. His parents' loving marriage in particular served as a template for his preaching of God's faithfulness to us.
His admiration and curiosity of family history fulfilled his passion of engaging with others, a trait that made him an effective priest. He loved his Swiss heritage and family traditions such as wrestling, hunting and artifact collections. He suffered as a small boy with epilepsy, which abruptly resolved after ordination as a priest, something he attributed to God as a miracle. His siblings believe this terrifying experience as a child widened his heart for others, especially those with disadvantages; as evidenced by his sensitivity to children with special needs, multicultural and minority parishioners, and those on the margins of society.
After his year in Switzerland, he came home and was a logger before entering Centralia Community College in 1992. He achieved a BA in sociology and a minor in anthropology. Although planted in his heart at a young age, Paul's vocation to priesthood blossomed into reality with his decision to work as a counselor at a juvenile detention facility shortly after graduation. It was this experience of the harshness and violence of the occupants that made him realize that he could best apply his skills and desire for others' freedom by becoming a priest of Jesus Christ. He realized this was a peaceful way to get his and His word.
After exploring the possibility of being a religious order priest, he contacted the Archdiocese of Seattle and applied to be an archdiocesan seminarian. In 2000, he entered St. John Seminary in Camarillo, California, and was ordained in a large class of seven priests on June 10, 2006, by Archbishop Alex J. Brunett in St. James Cathedral in Seattle. His first assignment was as a parochial vicar at St. Edward, St. George, and St. Paul parishes in Seattle. He was then assigned as priest administrator and, later, pastor of his hometown Pacific County Catholic Parishes. In 2017, he was appointed pastor of St. Edward Parish in Shelton. His siblings remark how Father Kaech was the happiest he has ever been in the last few years, and they believe it is largely because of the wonderful and loving parish family at St. Edward.
Father Kaech had a deep love for healing ministry and the Hispanic and Guatemalan communities he served, especially in Shelton. He was a good role model for other priests on the importance of continuing formation; partaking in workshops, conferences, Encounter School of Ministry, leadership and administration programs. He had a wonderfully loud preaching style, taking the Lord Jesus' words to heart (Mt. 10:27). Yet when he shared of God's mercy and tenderness, he was freely moved to tears, an endearing quality that came out spontaneously with parishioners and staff. He was never one to miss a gathering of his brother priests, often being one of the first to arrive and last to leave. One brother priest remarked, "He was high energy, with a deep love of God and of service. I always appreciated his non sequiturs in group conversations." Another said, "Paul's determination, openness and simplicity made him so unique and easy to befriend. He would do almost anything to bring others closer to God, and to motivate them to remain positive and strong."
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let Your perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace.
Predeceased by his parents Louise and Edward and brother Bill. Survived by his brothers Ed (Kristy) Kaech, Steve (Kristi) Kaech; sisters Debbie (Todd) Clements, Janet Kaech, and Elise Karniss; nine nephews, five nieces, numerous great-nephews, and great-nieces.
Vigil was held:
Monday, October 9th 2023 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Edward Parish, 601 W C. Street, Shelton, WA, 9858. Father Ron Belisle presided and Father David Mayovsky preached.
Funeral Mass was held:
Tuesday, October 10th at 10:00 a.m. Bishop Frank Schuster presided and Father Tim Ilgen preached at St. Edward Parish, 601 W C. Street, Shelton, WA. A reception was held in the parish hall following the Mass.
Father Paul Allen Kaech was laid to rest at:
St. Joseph Holy Family Church, 2800 State Hwy 6 in Frances, WA. 98577
Memorial Mass in Spanish was held:
Tuesday, October 10th at 7:00 p.m. Father Milhton Scarpetta presided at St. Edward Parish, 601 W C. Street in Shelton, WA. 98584
Condolences can be sent to:
Ed Kaech (oldest brother) PO Box 213, Menlo, WA. 98561