Retired Auxiliary Bishop Emil A. Wcela of Rockville Centre


Retired Auxiliary Bishop Emil A. Wcela of Rockville Centre died May 21. He was 91.

Bishop John O. Barres of Rockville Centre said the late prelate, who retired in 2007, was “a humble man, fine Scripture scholar, faithful pastor and dedicated bishop.”

“He served the people of the Diocese of Rockville Centre for over 65 years in our parishes, the work of priestly formation as professor and seminary rector, and as vicar of the eastern vicariate.”

Funeral arrangements for Bishop Wcela were not immediately announced.

Born in Bohemia, N.Y., he studied for the priesthood at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington.

He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Brooklyn in 1956, and was incardinated into the Diocese of Rockville Centre after that diocese was created the next year.

In 1959 he was appointed to the faculty of St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary where he taught Latin.

In 1965, he was assigned to the faculty of Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, where he also was rector, 1973-1979. He was director of the program for the continuing education of priests, 1969-1975.

In 1988, he was named founding pastor of Resurrection parish in Farmingville.

In 1980, St. John Paul II named him a monsignor. On Oct. 25, 1988, the pope appointed him auxiliary bishop of the Rockville Centre Diocese. His episcopal ordination was Dec. 13, 1988, at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre.

He was vicar for the diocese’s eastern vicariate until his retirement April 3, 2007.

He was a former president of the Catholic Biblical Association and chairman of its board of trustees.

He headed an interdisciplinary committee of the U.S. bishops that advanced a proposal that any time between ages 7 and 18 would be a suitable age for the sacrament of confirmation.

He was a former chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pastoral Research and Practices. His committee in 1995 advanced guidelines for celebrating the Eucharist for persons with disabilities which were approved by the bishops.

Retired Auxiliary Bishop Emil A. Wcela of Rockville Centre