The Catholic press mourns the loss of a talented writer this week. Christopher Ringwald, 55, former editor of The Evangelist, the weekly paper of the Diocese of Albany, and the author of three books on spiritual subjects, died Sept. 26 in an apparent suicide. He leaves behind his wife, Amy, and their three children.
Although I'd met Chris only once, we had talked on the phone now and then regarding columns and stories. When I heard the news of his death, I was stunned and saddened that he had found himself in such a dark place, a place he apparently couldn't escape. I ached for his family but I also ached for him, knowing that so many people would have been happy to help if they'd only known help was needed.
Chris had a long list of Catholic credentials to his name. His obituary in today's Times Union bears witness to the depth of his devotion to his Catholic faith and his commitment to helping others through his writing:
Chris's life revolved around his family and his Catholic faith. He cherished his wife, Amy Biancolli Ringwald, and their three children: Madeleine, Jeanne and Mitchell. Chris filled his days deliberately, packing in work, exercise, reading, lunches with friends, dinner with family, school and sports events and civic engagements. But on Sundays, he rested. Chris had a deep intellectual understanding of Catholicism, and lived his faith.
He was a devoted parishioner at St. George's Black Catholic Apostolate, St. Teresa of Avila, and then St. Vincent de Paul. Through the years, he taught carpentry in Peru, visited Albany homeless shelters, dropped in on friends in nursing homes, counseled alcoholics, delivered Christmas gifts and Thanksgiving food to needy families, and supported Emmaus House, an Albany Catholic Worker residence.
Chris was born in the Bronx and was educated at Georgetown University, the Columbia School of Journalism and St. Bernard's Institute. He worked as a carpenter, building contractor and a human rights lobbyist. As a journalist, he concerned himself with faith and justice. He was the author of three books: "A Day Apart," about the importance of the Sabbath in the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths; "The Soul of Recovery," which explored the role of spirituality in addiction recovery (both published by Oxford University Press); and "Faith in Words," a series of interviews with writers about their spirituality.
His writing had been published in Newsday, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Commonweal and National Catholic Reporter.
Please pray for Chris' family as they face the incredibly difficult road ahead -- a life without a husband, without a father.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him.