DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     December 10-12, 1999     vol. 10, no. 235


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      Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we spotlight each member of the Conclave in alphabetical order. We find this necessary as our dear Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II grows older, clinging to hope, as we join him, of seeing the light of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart with the dawn of the new millennium - the Jubilee Year 2000. How much longer this 264th successor of Peter has left on this earth only God knows for sure, but His Divine Mercy is evident in allowing him to be with us this long for he truly is a saint for our times, truly Christ's Vicar on earth in these waning days before the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Time of Peace, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the New Pentecost, the Second Advent, the Age of the Holy Spirit. What 1999 will bring we have no idea, nor does anyone else, but with John Paul II at the helm, we feel much more secure in knowing God's Will will be done. Nevertheless, we want to preview the future Pope whether that be soon or much, much later, for no one lives forever and eventually one of those prelates will be selected as the 265th successor of Peter. This will give the reader a better insight into the man whom the Holy Spirit will move the conclave to choose. Thus we bring the reader vignettes on each cardinal in alphabetical order gleaned from the Catholic Almanac, The Official Catholic Directory, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

136.   Cardinal Edmund C. Szoka

        The Prefect for the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See and President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka was born on September 14, 1927 in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Polish immigrant parents. Because of his roots, a vocation was nurtured and as a teen he migrated north to Michigan's upper peninsula where he entered the minor seminary in the Diocese of Marquette. After major seminary there, he was ordained in the Diocese on June 5, 1954 and assigned to various paastoral assignments by Bishop Thomas Noa. A year after parish work the bishop appointed him his Secretary. In this position he accompanied Bishop Noa to Rome for the Second Vatican Council and gained invaluable experience during the first session in 1962. On June 11, 1971 Pope Paul VI made Father Szoka a bishop. He was ordained and installed as the Bishop of Gaylord in north central Michigan on July 20th. In 1972 he was chosen President of the U.S. Bishops' Conference, quite an honor for one so young. He held that post until 1977. Simultaneously during this same time he served as Treasurer and Secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Michigan, a post that would serve him well for it served notice to Rome of his financial acumen.

        Pope John Paul II tabbed him as the new Archbishop of Detroit on March 21, 1981 to replace the retiring Cardinal John Dearden. He was installed on May 17, 1981. He remained as Shepherd of Michigan's largest see until the expected announcement of his elevation to the cardinalate during the Consistory of June 28, 1988. He received the titular church of Sts. Andrew and Gregory al Monte Celio and assigned membership in the Curial offices of the Second Section of the Secretary of State, and five Sacred Congregations: the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Congregation for the Clergy, and the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. Because of his expertise in financial matters which he had shown so clearly while in Gaylord and Detroit, on April 28, 1990 the Holy Father picked him as President of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See. He assumed his new duties in Rome on June 25th of that year. During his seven years in this key financial post he literally turned things around completely, bringing the Vatican out of debt because of the immense huge budgets to where the Holy See now realizes a small surplus. At 72 he is expected to continue in his post at least for three more years and because of that the Holy See's economic picture looks bright.

December 17-19, 1999       volume 10, no. 240


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