Deacon Chris was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1950. He is the son of the late Parker and Mary Edith Morash and has a brother Nick who still lives in Halifax. Deacon Chris’ sister Mary-Anne passed away in 2012. Growing up Deacon Chris attended St. Francis Elementary School, St. Patrick’s High School, Dalhousie University in Halifax and later the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia.
Deacon Chris began the study of piano at age seven and received his grade ten in piano through the Royal Toronto Conservatory of Music. In his first year of high school in 1965 and at the beginning of the liturgical changes of the Second Vatican Council Deacon Chris was invited to play the organ at St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica in Halifax, Nova Scotia for Sunday Liturgies. He remained there becoming the principal organist until 1971.
In 1971 Deacon Chris enlisted in the Canadian Forces as a musician. He completed basic training in January 1972 at CFB Cornwallis and was posted to the Canadian Forces School of Music in Victoria, British Columbia. During his time as a student musician at the Canadian Forces School of Music, Deacon Chris became the principal Organist and Director of Music and Liturgy at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Victoria. During those years at St. Andrew’s Cathedral he collaborated closely with Bishop Remi De Roo, the then Bishop of Victoria and a father of the Second Vatican Council. During his twenty-four years in the Diocese of Victoria Deacon Chris facilitated many liturgy and music workshops both within the diocese and outside of the diocese. For several years Deacon Chris was a member of the Liturgical Committee of the Western Conference of Canadian Bishops. For over thirty years Deacon Chris has been a member of the National Pastoral Musicians.
While in Victoria Deacon Chris was fortunate to bring to the diocese several noted composers of liturgical music. Three of those noted composers who came to the Diocese of Victoria were Fr. Bob Dufford, Dan Schutte and Tim Manion from a group known as the “St. Louis Jesuits.” At the same time the St. Louis Jesuits were doing graduate work in music at Seattle University. In 1986 Deacon Chris was invited to sing in the choir for the St. Louis Jesuits recording “The Steadfast Love.” That same year Deacon Chris collaborated with Fr. Bob Dufford, SJ in writing the keyboard arrangements for two of his compositions “All the Ends of the Earth” and “Save Us, O Lord,” subsequently published by Oregon Catholic Press.
Deacon Chris completed his Bachelor of Music in organ performance and conducting and graduated from the University of Victoria in 1994 “with distinction.” In 1996 Deacon Chris came to Charlottesville as the Director of Worship at the Church of the Incarnation. He met his future wife Peggy Cornett in the parish and they were married on May 9, 1998. Peggy is the Curator of Plants at Monticello. Deacon Chris entered the Richmond Diocesan Permanent Diaconate Program in September of 1999 and completed his diaconal formation through the Benedictine School of Theology at St. Meinrad’s Archabbey. Chris was ordained a deacon by Bishop-Emeritus Walter Sullivan on February 15, 2003. In August 2010 Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo invited Deacon Chris to be the Director of the Diocesan Office of Worship of the diocese of Richmond. Deacon Chris retired from his role with the diocesan office in 2015, and from staff at the parish in 2020. Nevertheless, he is still an active deacon, and helps oversee pastoral care.