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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 15.09.2007]


Notice: the biographical notes are only a working instrument for the press, for the exclusive use of accredited journalists.


SZOKA Card. Edmund Casimir




Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka, Archbishop emeritus of Detroit (U.S.A.); President emeritus of the Governatorate of Vatican City; President emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, was born on 14 September 1927 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His parents are Casimir, a polish immigrant, and Mary Szoka. He did his primary studies at St. Michael school in Muskegon. He entered St. Joseph’s seminary in Grand Rapids and then St. John’s in Plymouth, always in Michigan.

He was ordained a priest on 5 June 1954 in Marquette and served as an assistant priest in the parish of St. Francis in Manistique, Michigan. In 1955, he became secretary to the Bishop Noa of Marquette. During the period of 1955 and 1962, he also served as chaplain at St. Mary’s Hospital. In 1956, he was even chaplain at the air base of Sawiyer.

From 1957 to 1959, attended the Faculty of Canon Law at the Pontifical Urban University in Rome. Upon returning to the United States, from 1960 until 1971 he served at the matrimonial tribunal of the diocese of Marquette, while at the same time serving as chancellor’s assistant (1962-1969), parish priest of St. Pius X parish in Ispheming on North lake (1962-1963), parish priest of St. Christopher’s (1963-1971) chancellor of the diocese of Marquette. He also accompanied Bishop Noa to the first session of the Vatican II Ecumenical Council.

On 11 June 1971 he was elected Bishop of Gaylord in Michigan and was ordained on 20 July 1971. A year later, the Bishops of the 4th pastoral region of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops elected him president for the period of 1972-1977. At the same time, he was treasurer and secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Michigan.

On 21 March 1981 he was named Archbishop of Detroit. Since 1981, he also served as president of the Administration Council of the provincial seminary of St. John in Plymouth and Sts. Cyril and Methodius seminary near Orchard Lake. He was also a president of the board of directors of the Episcopal Conference of Michigan, member of the executive committee of the Catholic University and president of the committee for university relations. Administrator of the National Sanctuary of the Immaculate Conception, treasurer of the NCCB and served on a variety of other committees within the Conference for: human values, Bishops, dioceses and provinces, and economic affairs.

Archbishop emeritus of Detroit, 28 April 1990.

President of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See, 22 January 1990 to 14 October 1997.

President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, 14 October 1997 to 15 September 2006.

President of the Governatorate of Vatican City State, 22 February 2001 to 15 September 2006.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by John Paul II in the Consistory of 28 June 1988, of the Title of Ss. Andrea e Gregorio al Monte Celio (Sts. Andrew and Gregory at Monte Celio).


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