Father Andrew Vollkommer dies at age 60

CHAPIN—Father Andrew J. Vollkommer, pastor of Our Lady of the Lake Church, died Jan. 27. He was 60.

The Mass of Christian Burial was held Feb. 2 at Our Lady of the Lake. Burial was at the church.

Father Vollkommer was born June 26, 1955, in Oceanside, N.Y., a son of the late Joseph and Florence Vollkommer. He graduated from Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C., in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a minor in theology.

Father Andrew Vollkommer, Our Lady of the Lake Church, Chapin, SCHe entered the Order of St. Benedict in 1978 and professed first vows as a Benedictine monk in 1979. He taught sociology at Belmont Abbey College and was director of religious education at Queen of the Apostles Roman Catholic Church in Belmont.

In 1982, he began theological studies for the priesthood at St. John’s Abbey and School of Theology in Collegeville, Minn. He earned a Master of Arts in Religious Education with distinction and a Master of Divinity with honors from St. John’s University in Collegeville. He was ordained a priest on June 28, 1986.

Father Vollkommer earned a master’s degree in liturgical studies at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., in 1988. He returned to Gastonia, N.C., where he served at St. Michael Church from 1988 to 1993. He also served as a member of the presbyteral council in the Diocese of Charlotte and on the diocesan liturgical commission.

In 1993, Father Andrew petitioned the Holy See and was accepted by Bishop David B. Thompson as a diocesan priest in South Carolina and was assigned to St. Joseph Church in Columbia, St. Mark in Newberry, and then to Our Lady of the Lake in 1994 when it was a mission of about 60 families. He petitioned Bishop Thompson to make it an independent parish and was appointed as its first resident pastor.

He celebrated the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood on May 29, 2013. In an interview with The Miscellany after the event, Father Vollkommer said he had been blessed to be at Our Lady of the Lake for a long time and to see it grow with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Father Vollkommer supervised the building and expansion of the family life center, and was preparing for the new sanctuary’s dedication.

In addition to his love of muscle cars and animals — he had three cats — Father Vollkommer enjoyed travel and participated in a program of spiritual renewal and sabbatical for priests in the Holy Land. He also studied Spanish in Mexico City to enhance his ministry in the growing Latino community.

He is survived by two sisters, Carol Morris of Sarasota, Fla., and Mary Cutler of Jacksonville, Fla.; and many nieces and nephews. Memorials may be made to Our Lady of the Lake Church Building Fund, 195 Amicks Ferry Road, Chapin, SC 29036.