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Chicago, IL (July 10, 2006) - Fr. Michael Wasiel, the longest ordained priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago and the last priest of the 44-member ordination class of 1933, died on Friday, July 7, at Holy Family Villa in Lemont where he was in residence. He was 97 years old.

A native of Harvey, Fr. Wasiel was ordained by George Cardinal Mundelein in 1933. He served in several Polish parishes throughout the archdiocese from 1933 until his retirement in 1979. His first assignment was as an assistant pastor at the now closed St. Valentine Parish in Cicero, where he served for eight years. He was the assistant pastor at St. Michael Parish at 83rd and S. Shore Dr. from 1941-1948.

For 11 years, beginning in 1948, Fr. Wasiel served as assistant pastor at St. Barbara Parish on Throop St. in Chicago, which was also a Polish parish at the time. He was assistant pastor at St. Casimir Parish from 1959 to 1961 before becoming pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Chicago Heights, where he served from 1961 to 1966. Both those parishes have closed.

He was named pastor of Sacred Heart Parish on S. Honore St. in 1966 and served in that capacity until 1978. The parish was in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. In the 1960s, Fr. Charles Koba served alongside Fr. Wasiel as pastor of another Back of the Yards parish, Sts. Cyril and Methodius, and credits Fr. Wasiel with learning Spanish to accommodate the changing population of his parish.

Fr. Wasiel retired from active ministry in 1978. The following year he was made pastor emeritus of Sacred Heart. He returned there briefly in 1983 to serve as administrator of the parish.

Visitation for Fr. Wasiel will take place at St. John the Baptist Church, 15746 Union Ave., Harvey, from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 11. Most Reverend Thad Jakubowski, retired auxiliary bishop of Chicago, will be the main celebrant at a funeral Mass for Fr. Wasiel at St. John the Baptist at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 12.

Interment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery, Calumet City. Fr. Wasiel is survived by three sisters, Bernice Duda, Helen Palczak and Genevieve Wojtczak.

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