Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, former shepherd of Buffalo, Nashville dies

By Catholic News Service

Retired Bishop Edward U. Kmiec of Buffalo, N.Y., is seen in this 2004 photo. He died July 11, 2020, after a brief illness. (CNS photo/Rebecca A. Horton via Western New York Catholic)

Retired Bishop Edward U. Kmiec of Buffalo, the diocese’s 13th bishop, died peacefully July 11 following a brief illness. He was 84.

Bishop Kmiec had been in declining health during the past several months, the diocese said in a July 12 statement.

“We commend to our loving and merciful Lord the devoted soul of our brother, Bishop Edward Kmiec,” said Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of Albany, N.Y., who is apostolic administrator of the Buffalo Diocese.

“He served long and faithfully the Church, which he loved greatly as a priest and bishop, and as one whose kindness, warm, and pastoral spirit guided, comforted, and revealed Christ to so many throughout his nearly 60 years of priesthood,” Bishop Scharfenberger said.

“We mourn his passing, but are also joyous in the sure knowledge that he is now with the One who motivated his life’s purpose and who has called this good and faithful servant home,” he added.

Bishop Kmiec’s body lay in repose on July 16 in the main sanctuary of the Cathedral of St. Joseph. A funeral Mass followed on July 17 at the cathedral, with attendance restricted to Bishop Kmiec’s immediate family and diocesan representatives.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York presided at the Mass, with Bishop Scharfenberger as the principal celebrant. Other bishops from the New York region attended. Entombment followed in the Bishops Crypt, directly behind the tabernacle in the cathedral.

Bishop Kmiec headed the Buffalo Diocese from 2004 until his retirement in 2012. Before that, he was bishop of Nashville from 1992 until his appointment to Buffalo. He was an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Trenton, N.J., from 1982 to 1992.

His tenure as Nashville’s bishop “was a time of growth of the Catholic community in Middle Tennessee,” the Nashville Diocese said in a July 12 statement.

There was “not only an increase in the Catholic population, but the establishment of new parishes and schools, including Pope John Paul II High School in Hendersonville,” the diocese said. “He is remembered fondly as a shepherd and friend by many in the Diocese of Nashville. Bishop J. Mark Spalding requested prayers for the repose of his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed. May he rest in peace.”

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