Father Eschbach was born at Nazareth Hospital in Northeast Philadelphia, on April 6, 1944, the third child and first and only son of the four children born to Victor J. Eschbach, Jr. and Margaret M. McGivney Eschbach. He was raised in a little patch called Hollywood, PA, just outside the city limits of Philadelphia, in Montgomery County; belonged to St. Cecilia Parish and attended St. Cecilia School in the Fox Chase section of Philadelphia.
In 1958, Fr. Eschbach graduated from St. Cecilia and moved on to LaSalle College High School, where he distinguished himself simply by graduating in May, 1962.
In June of that year, under the guidance of his parish priest, he applied for admission to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, and was surprised that he was accepted. Entering the Seminary in September, 1962, he was absolutely convinced that he would never make it, somehow he achieved his B.A. in philosophy in May, 1966. Moving on to the study of theology and Sacred Scripture, Fr. Eschbach wrote about six letters of resignation before he achieved his M.Div. in May, 1972. Finally, called to Ordination to the Sacred Priesthood by the Church of Philadelphia in the person of John Cardinal Krol, then the Archbishop, Father Eschbach laid prone on the floor of the Cathedral of Sts. Peter & Paul, fearful he would not last in the priesthood. That was over 45 years ago.
During his high school and seminary years, Fr. Eschbach worked at various jobs to support himself in his education. He worked as a checker-cashier in a supermarket; cut grass and shoveled snow; worked as a laborer digging ditches, carried tons of soil pipe, slabs of sheet rock, and anything else they needed a mule for. He worked as an inventory clerk for a national manufacturing company. He drove trucks, painted buildings, and worked as a grade foreman—building parts of I 95 through Philadelphia and jet runways at the Philadelphia Airport. So, if you hit bumps on I 95 or your take-off is a little bumpy, leaving Philly, thank Fr. Eschbach.
Since Ordination, Father has served in the following parishes and capacities:
1972-75 - Assistant Pastor, St. Patrick’s Parish, Norristown, PA
1973-75 - Montco Co-ordinator, Cardinal’s Commission on Human Relations
1973-76 - Member, Council of Priests of the Archidocese of Philadelphia
1975-77 - Assistant Pastor, Our Lady of Mercy Church, Philadelphia