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Monsignor David S. Slubecky, 71, retired vicar general of Buffalo Diocese

Monsignor David Slubecky in 2007. (Harry Scull Jr./News file photo)

Dec. 5, 1947 — Feb. 12, 2019

Monsignor David S. Slubecky, retired vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, died unexpectedly Tuesday. He was 71.

In a statement on Twitter announcing his death, the Diocese said, “As we are shocked by his sudden passing, we all give thanks for Msgr. Slubecky’s life, ministry and friendship.”

When he retired last May, the diocesan newspaper, Western New York Catholic, in an article by George Richert, then communications director for the diocese, characterized him as the chief operating officer for the diocese.

“He has been responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Catholic Center as well as the oversight of countless boards of our many diocesan institutions,” Bishop Richard J. Malone told the newspaper. “In addition, he has been an integral member of my senior staff with whom I meet weekly. (His) keen oversight of so many diocesan functions and institutions was always a tremendous help to me.”

Born in Batavia, one of five children, he was the son of Stanley Slubecky, farm supervisor for what was then the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden, and the former Marie Zielonko, an occupational therapy assistant at the Erie County Home and Infirmary in Alden.

The Western New York Catholic article noted that Monsignor Slubecky aspired to be a priest when he was a boy attending St. John the Baptist School in Alden and would pretend to celebrate Mass with his siblings, giving them Necco wafers for Communion.

According to the article, he resisted his parents’ encouragement to attend a public high school and went instead to Diocesan Preparatory Seminary in Buffalo, where he was one of only two boys in his class of 122 to become a priest.

He graduated from St. John Vianney Seminary in East Aurora in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, then earned a bachelor’s degree in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. He then began further studies in theology at the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.

He was ordained in his home parish on July 21, 1973, by Bishop Edward Head and interrupted an assignment as parochial vicar at St. Mary’s Parish in Batavia to return to Rome to finish his graduate degree in theology.

After returning to St. Mary’s for a few months, he served as associate director and retreat master at St. Ignatius Renewal Center in Clarence, where he worked with the first class of permanent deacons. In 1978, he became director of the center and director of the permanent diaconate program.

In 1983, he returned to Rome to complete a graduate degree in canon law at the Gregorian University, then came back to Buffalo to serve on the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal, eventually becoming judicial vicar. He was named a monsignor in 1988 and honored as a chaplain to Pope John Paul II in 1989.

He finally fulfilled his early desire to be a parish priest in 1994 when he was assigned as pastor of Fourteen Holy Helpers Church in West Seneca, a post he held until he was asked by Bishop Edward Kmiec to become moderator of the curia and vicar general in 2005.

He also served as Bishop Kmiec’s delegate in the early stages of the canonization process for Father Nelson Baker and oversaw the beatification process for the founder of the Felician Sisters, Blessed Angela Truszkowska.

The diocese honored him as priest of the month in April 2013.

When he retired, he moved from a suite at St. Joseph Cathedral in Buffalo to the Monsignor John J. Conniff Priest Retirement Home in Lancaster. He celebrated his last Mass in the cathedral chapel in June.

He enjoyed theater, classical music and traveling. At Fourteen Holy Helpers, he went to Rome four times with groups from the parish.

Names of survivors were not immediately available.

Funeral arrangements will be announced.

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