Bishop Dale Melczek, longtime bishop of the Diocese of Gary, dies at 83

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GARY, Ind. (CBS) – Roman Catholics in northwest Indiana are saying goodbye to a longtime church pillar.

The Very Reverend Dale Melczek, who was Bishop of the Diocese of Gary, died Thursday morning at the age of 83. He celebrated 30 years with the Diocese of Gary last Friday.

“Bishop Melczek was a true shepherd who loved his flock in the Diocese of Gary,” Bishop Robert J. McClory, current Bishop of Gary, said in a press release. “He was a tireless servant and a compassionate pastor. We were so blessed to have such a hopeful and caring leader.”

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Bishop Dale Melczek

Diocese of Gary


Melczek was born in Detroit on November 9, 1938. He studied at St. Mary’s College in Orchard Lake, Michigan, and received a master’s degree in theology from St. John Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan, before being ordained a priest in 1964. . .

In 1970, Melczek was appointed associate pastor and later co-pastor of St. Sylvester Parish in Warren, Michigan, during which time he also earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Detroit. Melczek later served as pastor of St. Christine’s Parish in Detroit, then assistant vicar for Detroit parishes.

Pope John Paul II appointed Melczek Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit in 1982, then Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Gary in 1992. He officially became Gary’s third bishop in 1996 and served until his resignation in 2014.

Bishop Melczek was known in Gary for initiating a lay ministry program and involving the faithful in the decision-making process for their parishes. He was also known for his advocacy for Catholic schools, the diocese said.

Bishop Melczek addressed racism in Northwest Indiana in his 2002 pastoral letter, “The Many Faces of Our Church: A Pastoral Letter on Cultural Diversity.” He wrote another letter the following year, “Created in the Image of God: A Pastoral Letter on the Sin of Racism and a Call to Conversion”.

Memorial services for Melczek will be held Sunday and Monday.

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