|Posted by Abbot Austin on September 21, 2019 at 11:30 AM|
Our confrere, Father Edward Kucera, the last member of our community to have entered under the patriarchal Abbot Procopius Neuzil, died of kidney failure at St. Patrick's Residence, Naperville, IL, on the morning of Saturday, September 21. Born in Chicago on April 28, 1927, Joseph Kucera had two older brothers in Lisle when he arrived in 1941 as a high school freshman: the future Father Mathias, and the future Abbot and Archbishop Daniel. After completing one year of college, he followed their good example and applied to join the monastic community. Following his profession on June 16, 1947, Father Edward soon began a career in the classroom that lasted until 1962, teaching such subjects as history, religion, science, and mechanical drawing. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Martin McNamara in St. Raymond Nonnatus Cathedral, Joliet, on May 30, 1953. From 1955-1961, Father Edward served as athletic director of St. Procopius Academy, and he was one of those who oversaw the school’s transfer to its new campus in 1956. He obtained his master’s degree in history from DePaul University in 1961. In 1962 Father Edward began twenty years as a much-respected chaplain with the Air Force. During that time, he served at locations in Louisiana, Labrador, Texas, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Colorado. Receiving a number of decorations for his work and rising to the rank of Colonel, he left military service in 1982 and accepted the role as chaplain at Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado. Early in 1984, he returned to Lisle as pastor of St. Joan of Arc Parish, but some health issues required him to relinquish that position the following year. Father Edward resumed his pastoral work in Colorado, where, apart from some time with the Benedictine Chinese Mission in Taiwan from 1990-1991, he kept busy until 2008 helping in hospitals and parishes, as well as with the World Youth Day that took place in Denver in 1993. He also much enjoyed serving as a chaplain on cruises to various parts of the world. Still vigorous at the age of eighty-one, he was assigned to assist with campus ministry at Benet Academy when he came back to Lisle in 2008, and for the next nine years he was an admired figure on campus as he sought to encourage frequent reception of the Sacraments. Decreased mobility led him to take up residence at Villa St. Benedict in the fall of 2017. There he remained an active presence until his health declined seriously in the course of 2019. Please remember Father Edward in your prayers.
Abbot Austin and Community
St. Procopius Abbey