ARCHDIOCESAN VICAR GENERAL AND AUXILiARY BISHOP
MOST REV. EDWIN M. CONWAY DIES AT THE AGE OF 70
CHICAGO (August 9, 2004) – The Most Rev. Edwin M. Conway, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago and Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Chicago, died this morning from complications of esophageal cancer. He was 70 years old.
“This is a very sad day for the Archdiocese of Chicago and for the many who benefited from Bishop Conway’s ministry,” said Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago. “Bishop Conway was an exemplary bishop of the Catholic Church. A man of deep faith, his courage during his illness was an inspiration to all who knew him. The Catholics of the Archdiocese of Chicago have lost a kind and dedicated priest and bishop, and I have lost a good friend and trusted advisor.”
A native of Chicago, Bishop Conway was ordained a priest May 6, 1960. From 1960 to 1967, he served as associate pastor of St. Bonaventure and St. Mary of the Lake parishes on Chicago’s North Side. He continued to reside at St. Mary of the Lake for 35 years until 2003.
After he received his master’s degree in social work from Loyola University in 1970, he spent most of the next 30 years in various capacities at Catholic Charities of Chicago. He was named administrator of Catholic Charities in 1983, a position he held until 1996. As administrator of Catholic Charities, Father Conway oversaw the largest private multi-service social services agency in the Midwest.
On March 20, 1995, he was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago and was appointed Episcopal Vicar for Vicariate II of the Archdiocese, which includes the supervision of 63 parishes on the city’s North and Northwest sides and the north suburbs of Cook County. Bishop Conway also served during this time with the Health Affairs Office of the Archdiocese, acting as liaison between the Archdiocese and 23 Catholic health care centers and long-term health care facilities located within the Archdiocese.
In August 2003, Bishop Conway was appointed Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Chicago, assisting Cardinal George as a chief executive officer and also acting in the archbishop’s name during any absence. At the same time, he was re-appointed to Maryville Academy’s Board of Directors, having served on the board of the Academy from 1993-96.
During his priesthood, he served as chairman, president, director or member of the board of directors for more than 20 organizations, including residences for the elderly, homeless, youth and handicapped. Bishop Conway also participated in many seminars, convocations and conferences in the area of social welfare and social policy as they pertain to the life of the Church.
Honored for his numerous contributions to the Catholic Church and society, Bishop Conway was designated as a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre (1987), had a Catholic Charities facility for the elderly named for him (2003), and was most recently the recipient of the “Heart of Loyola” award from Loyola University Chicago (2004) and the “Lumina Award” from the National Catholic AIDS Network (2004).
Bishop Conway is survived by his brother, Jerome F. Conway (the late Loretta); nephews Timothy (Cindy), Daniel (Pam), David (Laura) and Thomas (Kerri); niece Judy (Mark Smith); and was greatly adored by several grand nieces and nephews.
“My brother was an integral and vital member of our family throughout his life and will be held fondly in our hearts forever,” said his brother, Jerome.
Bishop Conway’s body will be waked at Holy Name Cathedral, State and Superior streets in Chicago, on Thursday, August 12. The Cathedral will open for the wake between 2 and 9 p.m., and there will be a prayer service for Bishop Conway at 7:30 p.m. The Most Rev. Timothy J. Lyne, Emeritus Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, will preach. The Cathedral will reopen for the wake at 9 a.m. the following morning and will stay open until 12:45 p.m., just before the funeral Mass begins.
Cardinal George will be the main celebrant at a funeral Mass at 1 p.m. for Bishop Conway on Friday, August 13, also at Holy Name. The Most Rev. Francis J. Kane, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, will offer the homily during the funeral Mass. Cardinal George will conduct the gravesite ceremony. Interment will be at Mount Carmel Cemetery, Hillside.
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