Former American Head of Vatican Government Dies

Archdiocese of Detroit Mourns Death of Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka, a «Dedicated Shepherd»

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The Archdiocese of Detroit has expressed its sadness over the death of Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka.who passed away August 20th.

The American prelate was archbishop of the diocese from 1981 to 1990, before being appointed to oversee the Vatican’s government, under Pope Francis’ two predecessors.

In a statement the Archdiocese of Detroit issued on Cardinal Szoka’s death, Detroit’s Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, who served under the Cardinal Szoka in the 1980s, said, «We mourn the loss of a dedicated shepherd,» reported Vatican Radio.

On Friday, Pope Francis offered his “heartfelt” condolences to Archbishop Vigneron in a telegram, which recalled the late Cardinal’s “tireless” ministry to both his diocese and then within the Vatican.

At age 86, the prelate died Wednesday night of natural causes at Providence Park Hospital in Novi, Michigan.

«For sixty years, Cardinal Szoka gave himself totally to his priestly service of Christ and his Church,” the statement reads, adding, “He has gone home to the Heavenly Father with our prayers» that «the Lord give him the reward of his labors»

It also noted that funeral arrangements will be made public as they become available.

Edmund Casimir Szoka was born to Polish immigrants in Grand Rapids on Sept. 14, 1927.

Having been ordained by Bishop Noa on June 5, 1954, to serve the Diocese of Marquette, this year marks Cardinal Szoka’s 60-year anniversary as a priest.

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

Within two years of the Polish Pope naming him a cardinal in June of 1988, the Michigan native was appointed to oversee economic affairs at the Vatican City State.

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

Not until 2006 and a day after his 79th birthday did Pope Benedict XVI accept Cardinal Szoka’s resignation from his position. Following this retirement from active ministry, the cardinal had been living in Michigan.


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