Former Head of Detroit Archdiocese Cardinal Szoka Dies


DETROIT, MI – Cardinal Edmund Szoka died of natural causes Wednesday night at Providence Park Hospital in Novi, Michigan.  He was 86 year old.

Cardinal Edmund Szoka

“We mourn the loss of a dedicated shepherd,” said Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron, who served as a priest under Szoka in the 1980s. “For 60 years, Cardinal Szoka gave himself totally to his priestly service of Christ and his church. He has gone home to the Heavenly Father with our prayers.”

Pope John Paul II made Szoka a cardinal in 1988.

Cardinal Szoka retired from active ministry in 2006. He had been living in Northville, MI.

Edmund Casimir Szoka (September 14, 1927 – August 20, 2014). He was born in Grand Rapids to Polish immigrants.

Szoka previously served as Bishop of Gaylord from 1971 to 1981 and Archbishop of Detroit from 1981 to 1990. Szoka was elevated to the cardinalate in 1988.  On June 5, 1954, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Thomas Noa in St. Peter’s Cathedral in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

On March 21, 1981, he was promoted to the third Metropolitan Archbishop of Detroit (eighth bishop) by Pope John Paul II. Since 1981, he also served as president of the Administration Council of the provincial seminary of St. John in Plymouth, Michigan and SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary near Orchard Lake Village, Michigan. He was also a president of the board of directors of the Episcopal Conference of Michigan, member of the executive committee of The Catholic University of America, president of the Committee for University Relations, Administrator of the National Sanctuary of the Immaculate Conception, treasurer of the NCCB, and served on committees within the Conference for: human values, bishops, dioceses and provinces, and economic affairs. He faced challenges of finance and enforcing Church discipline, and welcomed John Paul II to Detroit in 1987 during his tenure as Archbishop.

It was announced on June 22, 2006, that his resignation had been accepted by Pope Benedict and that he would officially step down on September 15, 2006; he maintained all curial memberships until age 80. On what he would do after retirement, Szoka said he was interested in travel, writing, studying the Church Fathers, and continuing to provide priestly assistance to Detroit.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug 21, 2014

Full statement from Archdiocese of Detroit

With sadness and great hope in the Resurrection we share news of the death of Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka, who served as Archbishop of Detroit from 1981 until 1990 and went on to oversee the government of the Vatican City State under Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

“We mourn the loss of a dedicated shepherd,” said current Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, who had served as a priest under Cardinal Szoka in the 1980s. “For sixty years Cardinal Szoka gave himself totally to his priestly service of Christ and his Church.  He has gone home to the Heavenly Father with our prayers. May the Lord give him the reward of his labors.”

Following his retirement from active ministry in 2006, Cardinal Szoka had been living in Northville. He died last night, August 20, of natural causes at Providence Park Hospital in Novi. He was 86.

Funeral arrangements will be made public as they become available.

Edmund Casimir Szoka was born Sept. 14, 1927, in Grand Rapids to Polish immigrants Casimir and Mary Szoka. His father had immigrated from what is now Belarus; his mother from Poland.

Cardinal Szoka was celebrating his 60th anniversary as a priest this year, having been ordained by Bishop Noa on June 5, 1954, to serve the Diocese of Marquette.

He had served as chancellor in the Diocese of Marquette until being named the first bishop of the newly created Diocese of Gaylord in June of 1971. After establishing the Diocese of Gaylord, Pope John Paul II named him Archbishop of Detroit. He was installed to the post in May 1981.

The pope then made him a cardinal in June of 1988. Shortly thereafter, he was appointed to oversee economic affairs at the Vatican City State, in April of 1990, and was succeeded in Detroit by Archbishop (Cardinal) Adam J. Maida.

Cardinal Szoka oversaw the Vatican City State under both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. He was made President of the Governatorate of Vatican City State in 1997, and president of the Vatican City State in 2001.

A day after his 79th birthday in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI accepted Cardinal Szoka’s resignation.

More biographical information on Cardinal Szoka is available at www.aod.org/szoka/ . More also will be shared at themichigancatholic.com.


BIOGRAPHICAL TIMELINE

Born: Sep. 14, 1927 (Grand Rapids, Michigan)

Ordained Priest (Marquette): June 5, 1954

Appointed First Bishop of Gaylord: June 11, 1971

Ordained and Installed Bishop of Gaylord: July 20, 1971

Appointed Eighth Ordinary and Third Archbishop of Detroit: March 21, 1981

Installed Archbishop of Detroit: May 17, 1981

Created Cardinal Priest of SS. Andrea e Gregorio al Monte Cielo, Roma: June 28, 1988

Appointed President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See: April 28, 1990

Appointed President of the Governatorate of Vatican City State: Oct. 15, 1997

Appointed President of Vatican City State: Feb. 22, 2001

Resigned: Sept. 15, 2006




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