SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, Pa. – Retired Bishop Michael J. Dudick of the Byzantine Diocese of Passaic, N.J., died May 30 at the Rest Haven nursing facility in Schuylkill Haven. He was 91.
He had previously been in residence at Holy Annunciation Monastery in Sugarloaf. Prior to his retirement in 1995, he had been the bishop of Passaic for 27 years.
A Divine Liturgy with the office of Christian burial was scheduled for June 5 at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Passiac. The liturgy was to be concelebrated by Byzantine Archbishop Basil M. Schott of Pittsburgh, Bishop Andrew Pataki, the current bishop of Passaic, and several other bishops and clergy.
Interment was set for June 6 at Mount St. Macrina Cemetery in Uniontown.
A native of St. Clair, Bishop Dudick was born Feb. 24, 1916, and ordained Nov. 13, 1945, after studies at St. Procopius Seminary in Lisle, Ill. When the Passaic Diocese was formed in 1963, he was its first chancellor. He was appointed by Pope Paul VI to be its second bishop Aug. 21, 1968.
The Diocese of Passaic has 88 parishes and four missions. It encompasses 15 states along the East Coast from Maine to Florida, plus eastern Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.
During his tenure as bishop, 32 new parishes and missions were established and several men were ordained to the priesthood and diaconate. New monasteries were established, including a monastery for the Basilian Fathers of Mariapoch in Matawan, N.J., and a monastery for Carmelite nuns in Sugarloaf.
Always a supporter of the spiritual growth of the faithful, Bishop Dudick launched annual pilgrimages in his diocese, and helped establish the Carpathian Village renewal and retreat center and St. Nicholas Shrine in the Poconos.
He was a strong advocate of the development of priests. Before retiring he arranged and supported the Emmaus Program for priests and worked to develop study days for clergy.
Over the years Bishop Dudick was a familiar figure at the annual March for Life activities in Washington in January. He usually celebrated a Divine Liturgy at the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception to close the nearly 24-hour vigil that takes place at the shrine prior to the pro-life march.
The bishop worked on several commissions and committees. He was a member of the Vatican Congregation for Eastern Churches for two five-year terms; consultor for the codification of Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches; and was on a visiting committee for the board of overseers of Harvard University for three two-year terms.
Among other positions he held, he was a consultor for the U.S. bishops’ ecumenical and interreligious affairs committee; a member of the seven-bishop committee in dialogue with the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops; a member of the board of regents of Seton Hall University; former secretary, treasurer and vice president of the Coalition of Religious Leaders of New Jersey; president of the Eastern Catholic Bishops Association; and a member of the Policy Committee of the Catholic bishops of New Jersey.
In the years after his retirement, Bishop Dudick continued offering pastoral care to the faithful.
Bishop Dudick is survived by a brother, John, and sisters Mary O’Brien and Elizabeth Gursky, all of St. Clair; another sister, Dorothy Keffer of Harrisburg, Pa.; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by brothers George and Joseph and sisters Irene Giemza and Anna Tizekker.