Fr. Cekada Died Very Peacefully
(July 18, 1951 – September 11, 2020)
Reporting Fr. Anthony Cekada’s death, Bishop Daniel Dolan wrote:
Fr. Cekada died very peacefully at 10:15 Friday morning. I was at his bedside, praying with him, as were his sister, Julia, and brother-in-law. All of us priests took turns sitting and praying with him during the hours of the night. He never did like to be left alone these last months.”
About three years ago Fr. Cekada had received treatment for cancer, and from the end of 2019 till his very death on September 11, 2020, he had been suffering from complications after a series of strokes. So, his death was not sudden and he had enough time to prepare well to give an account before God.
To the best of my memory, Fr. Cekada was a Slav by ethnic origin and he was very respectful of the Byzantine Rite.
In early 1983, Archbishop Lefebvre directed the SSPX's American priests to follow the liturgical books of 1962. Nine priests, including Fr. Cekada and Fr. Dolan, refused. They were promptly expelled from the SSPX, and after expulsion they did not have their own church for a certain period. Fr. Cekada said that within that period a Byzantine Rite priest generously allowed them to administer the Sacraments in his church.
From the fall of 2006 until his death, Fr. Cekada helped me a lot. Like many other priests, I can say that his generous help was something that has helped me incredibly in my life and apostolate. May God reward him for his boundless priestly charity.
When I received the news of Fr. Cekada’s death, I did not even immediately notice what day it happened, because the death of loved ones is always stressful, even when you know that they had been in a serious illness for a long time and death was inescapable. Even Our Lord experienced serious stress at the grave of his long-sick friend, Lazarus: "And said: Where have you laid him? They say to him: Lord, come and see. And Jesus wept" (St. John 11:34-35)
When the stress after the news of Fr. Cekada's death had passed, I thought, can't these words of the Psalmist "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints" - "pretiosa in conspectu Domini mors Sanctorum ejus" (Psalm 115:15), be applied to him? (see PS)
The fact that God called Father Cekada to Eternity on September 11th, the feast of BEHEADING OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST in the Byzantine Rite, just a day before the feast of THE MOST HOLY NAME OF MARY in the Latin Rite, may indicate that God did choose the date for the completion of the earthly ministry of His priest who uncompromisingly, like St. John the Baptist, with great love for Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary, preached the truths of the Catholic Faith.
Isn't this date a certain sign that Fr. Cekada’s ministry was pleasing to God? I believe this is precisely such a sign, not a mere coincidence.
Pontifical Funeral Mass for Fr. Cekada (10 am)
West Chester, OH www.sgg.org
Broadcasted 9/17/20 1:00pm - 9/17/20 9:00pm
With the Saints give rest, O Christ, to the soul of Thy servant, where there is neither sickness, nor sorrow, nor sighing, but life everlasting. (Byzantine Rite prayer)
P.S. I mean neither beatification nor canonization.
"Pope Urban VIII forbade the rendering of any veneration to any person who has not been beatified, whether the person may have died in the odor of sanctity, or wrought miracles during life or after death. The same Pope prescribes that every biographer, who makes use of the terms blessed, saint, or martyr, in speaking of a person that has not yet been beatified, ought to declare, that he does this, only to acknowledge the innocence of his life and the excellence of his virtues, without any prejudice to the authority of the Church, the only sovereign judge about these questions." (Ecclesiastical Dictionary, BY REV. JOHN THEIN, New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, BENZIGER BROTHERS, Printers to the Holy Apostolic See, 1900, Imprimatur: +MICHAEL AUGUSTINE, Archbishop of New York, New York, March 21, 1900, Nihil Obstat: +IGN. F. HORSTMANN, Bishop of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio, March 9, 1900, p. 95)