Retired bishop to receive Bernardin award
Mundelein Seminary will honor a distinguished alumnus
By Jeff Kurowski
Compass Assistant Editor
A special homecoming will take place in the Windy City next week.
Bp. Aloysius Wycislo, retired bishop of the Green Bay Diocese,
will return to Chicago, his hometown, to receive the Joseph
Cardinal Bernardin "As Those Who Serve" Award from Mundelein
Seminary at "An Evening of Tribute," held March 28 at the
Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers.
"I've lived up here 30 years, so many of my friends are no longer
around, and I have outlived many of them, but it is nice to be
invited back home," said Bp. Wycislo. "I will get acquainted
again with friends from Chicago and will have friends from here
The dinner event benefits the University of Saint Mary of the
Lake, Mundelein Seminary, Bp. Wycislo's alma mater. He has
visited the seminary several times throughout the years, and has
many fond memories of his time there especially concerning Card.
George Mundelein, its founder.
"Card. Mundelein was very close to the seminary," said Bp.
Wycislo. "He lived out there. He ate with us. In my time we had
300 seminarians and he knew everyone by name."
"We had two golf courses at Mundelein," he continued. "Thursday
was our day off and many of us enjoyed playing golf. The Cardinal
would be waiting at the first tee to play with the first three
guys who showed up. I will always remember the closeness of the
Cardinal as well as the fine education provided by the Jesuit
There have been several seminarians from the Green Bay Diocese
who have attended Mundelein over the years, said Bp. Wycislo,
including four who are currently at the seminary.
"They talk about it with me," he said. "They have a portrait of
me at the seminary. Our seminarians always say that they can't go
out of their rooms without running into me."
Bp. Wycisclo will be honored for his service to others during his
66 years of priesthood, including 40 years as a bishop. Mundelein
Seminary has honored local Catholics at this annual event since
Receiving an honor bearing the name of Card. Bernardin has
special significance, said Bp. Wycislo.
"He was a very close friend of mine," he said. "He was a very
fine man with whom one could work with closely. We worked
together when he was chairman of the National Council of Catholic
Bishops and I was involved with Catholic Relief Services. He was
a thoughtful person who was not beyond inviting you to his home
and cooking dinner for you."
Bp. Wycislo will take time from his busy schedule to attend the
event. He is currently working on two books, one on St. Peter,
which is near completion, and the other focusing on Catholic
"I'm writing memoirs of my participation in the founding of
Catholic Relief Services for the archives of the National Council
of Catholic Bishops," he said.
"It started off very humbly, and today is an organization that
disposes $300 million of relief and welfare projects to more than
70 countries," he said.
"We started with a staff of three in a small office in the Empire
State Building," he explained. "Today they employ between three
and five thousand people throughout the world."
The honor from Mundelein was a surprise, said Bp. Wycislo. He
takes a humble approach to the tribute.
"You often say to yourself, 'I did what I was supposed to do, why
do I deserve an honor?'" he said. "I did it because of my
vocation and my love of Jesus Christ in hopes that he would honor
me. I just hope that for my years of service I make it to