The Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic NJ has confirmed that retired Bishop Andrew Pataki, who once served as auxiliary bishop of that diocese and then became bishop in the Eparchy of Parma OH, was killed in an automobile accident on December 8 in New Jersey. He was taken to hospital, where he died as a result of his injuries. He was funeral arrangements have yet to be concluded even as the clergy of the diocese and beyond are informing their congregations. He is expected that Bishop William Skurla, who currently leads the diocese, will officiate at the funeral and Divine Liturgy for Bishop Pataki. Members of the Byzantine Catholic and Byzantine Catholic clergy are also expected to attend.
Rev. David Hannes, the pastor of St Michael’s Byzantine Catholic parish in Flushing MI, remembered Bishop Pataki with fondness and gratitude while asking for prayers from his fellow Catholics. Rev. Hannes said in a statement of the bishop, “He was an astute canonist and he pastorally exemplified his great love for the Byzantine Catholic Church with the hope of furthering the gospel to all.”
Bishop Pataki was born Palmerton PA in 1927. Following graduation from St. Procopius College-Seminary in Illinois, he went on to complete further studies at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh PA. In 1952 he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Daniel Ivancho for the Eparchy of Passaic. He also earned a licentiate at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome and became rector of Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary. He also was honoured to serve on the Pontifical Commission for the revision of the Eastern Code of Canon Law and was given the rank of Prelate of Honor by Pope Paul VI.
Bishop Pataki became the auxiliary at the Eparchy of Passaic in 1983 and was then installed as Bishop of Parma in 1985. After ten years, he then returned to Passaic and became bishop there. At the age of 80, in 2007, his request for retirement was accepted by Pope Benedict XVI since he had already surpassed the usual retirement age of 75 for Catholic bishops.
Bishop Pataki passed away on December 8, which is celebrated by Byzantine Catholics and other Eastern Christians as the Feast of the Conception of St. Ann, the mother of the Virgin Mary. Roman Catholics and other Christians mark the same day as the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, which is noted as the patronal feast day of the United States.