Bishop Kmiec

The Most Rev. Edward U. Kmiec, bishop of the Buffalo Diocese, speaks at an Archbishop Walsh High School open house in Olean on Oct. 10, 2008. The former bishop died over ther weekend.

BUFFALO — The late Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, 13th bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo who died late Saturday, will lie in state in the main sanctuary of the Cathedral of St. Joseph from noon to 7 p.m. Thursday.

Members of the public may pay their respects during that time at the cathedral at 50 Franklin St.

A Diocesan Mass will take place at 7 p.m. but will be restricted to Kmiec’s immediate family and diocesan representatives only.

Due to the novel coronavirus and the required capacity limitations, the Mass of Christian Burial, scheduled for Friday noon at the cathedral will not open to the public. The Mass will, however, be livestreamed at noon. Refer to www.buffalocathedral.org for the livestream link.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York, will preside at the Mass, with Most Reverend Edward B. Scharfenberger, apostolic administrator, as the principal celebrant. Other attending bishops from the New York region are also expected.

Entombment will follow in the Bishops Crypt, directly behind the tabernacle at St. Joseph’s.

Kmiec died peacefully Saturday just before midnight following a brief illness; he had been in declining health during the past several months, the diocese reported.

“We commend to our loving and merciful Lord the devoted soul of our brother, Bishop Edward Kmiec,” Scharfenberger said Sunday. “He served long and faithfully the Church which he loved greatly as a priest and bishop, and as one who’s kindness, warm and pastoral spirit guided, comforted, and revealed Christ to so many throughout his nearly 60 years of priesthood.”

Scharfenberger added that the diocese mourns Kmiec’s passing, “but are also joyous in the sure knowledge that he is now with the One who motivated his life’s purpose and who has called this good and faithful servant home.”

Born June 4, 1936 in Trenton, New Jersey, Kmiec was the fifth of five children, all born in the U.S., to Thecla Czupta Kmiec and John Kmiec, who emigrated from Poland before World War I.

In 1954, Kmiec left the Trenton area to attend St. Charles’ College in Catonsville, Maryland, and later St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, where he received his B.A. degree in 1958.

He was then sent to Rome for his theological studies, residing at the North American College and attending the Gregorian University. He was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 20, 1961, at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and his first Mass was celebrated at St. Peter’s in the Chapel of Our Lady of Czestochowa.

He continued his studies and received his S.T.L. degree in 1962 from the Gregorian University.

Upon returning to the U.S. in the summer of 1962, Kmiec served as associate pastor of St. Rose Parish in Belmar, New Jersey. In 1965, he was appointed Secretary and Master of Ceremonies to His Excellency, Bishop George W. Ahr, whom he served in that capacity through 1980.

Bishop Kmiec was named Prelate of Honor (Monsignor) by Pope Paul VI in 1977. On Nov. 3, 1982, he was ordained to the Episcopacy. He served as auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Trenton from 1982 until he was named 10th bishop of Nashville by Pope John Paul II in 1992.

On Aug. 12, 2004, John Paul named Kmiec the 13th bishop of Buffalo. On May 29, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI accepted Kmiec’s resignation and he became bishop emeritus of Buffalo. Since his retirement, Kmiec lived at the St. Joseph’s Cathedral rectory in Buffalo.

All of Bishop Kmiec’s siblings preceded him in death. He is survived by several nieces and nephews, as well as several grand nieces and nephews.

Flower arrangements are gratefully declined. Those wishing to offer a memorial may do so by making a gift to the following: the Most Rev. Edward U. Kmiec Scholarship Fund for Catholic Education or The Bishop Edward U. Kmiec Seminarian Formation Endowment Fund in care of The Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, 795 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14203, or Catholic Charities of Buffalo, 741 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, N.Y., 14209.

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