Ex-Cardinal Edmund Szoka, 86, Dies

Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka

Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka, who served as Archbishop of Detroit from 1981 until 1990, and then went on to oversee the government of the Vatican City State under Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, has died, according to the local Archdiocese. He was 86.

The Archdiocese of Detroit made the announcement on its website and issued a statement in a press release:

"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."

Szoka retired from active ministry in 2006, and lived in Northville. He died Wednesday night of natural causes at Providence Park Hospital in Novi, the Archdiocese said.

The Archdiocese press release says:

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. 

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