The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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March 23, 2001 Issue
Local News

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 there also."

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 faculty."

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 1994.

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 Relief Services.

"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 heaven."



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