Former Marquette priest dies

DETROIT (AP) – Cardinal Edmund Szoka, the former governor of Vatican City and the head of the Detroit archdiocese, has died. He was 86.

The Archdiocese of Detroit says Szoka died of natural causes Wednesday night at Providence Park Hospital in Novi, Michigan.

Pope John Paul II made Szoka a cardinal in 1988. Not long after, he became the Vatican’s point man for finance. By 1998, he was running the Vatican City, one of the world’s smallest countries.

Szoka was originally ordained as a priest June 5, 1954 in St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette, by Bishop Thomas L. Noa. His first assignment was associate pastor at St. Francis Parish in Manistique.

One year later, Szoka was appointed Secretary to the Bishop of Marquette and as chaplain at t Mary’s Hospital in Marquette, from 1955 to 1957 and from 1959 to 1962, respectively. From 1960 to 1971, he also served as Defender of the Bond of the Tribunal of the Diocese of Marquette.

Since his retirement from active ministry in 2006, Szoka had been living in the Detroit suburb of Northville.