Msgr. Theodore M. Wisniewski, 78, chaplain for area hospitals

February 05, 2000|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Monsignor Theodore Marcel Wisniewski, retired chaplain at Johns Hopkins and Franklin Square hospitals, died Monday of cancer at Stella Maris Hospice. He was 78.

A Roman Catholic priest who also was pastor of St. Gregory the Great and St. Cecilia's parishes in West Baltimore, he was best known as a hospital chaplain who brought comforting words to the sick and suffering.

"He was a most humble person," said the Rev. Tim Klunk, pastor of St. Athanasius Roman Catholic Church in Curtis Bay. "He was the most generous person I've ever known. He spent his life trying to help other persons."

Monsignor W. Francis Malooly, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, recalled that then-Father Wisniewski was startled when he was given the title of monsignor in December.

"He told me that he had never been given any significant positions within the church and didn't know why he should be honored. He had simply ministered to people and made every effort to be a good priest," Monsignor Malooly said.

Born in Baltimore, he joined the Society of the Catholic Apostate, known as the Pallotine Fathers. He studied at Queen of Angels Seminary in Madison, Wis. He had degrees in theology, sociology and education from the Catholic University of America in Washington. He also had a degree in public health from the University of Michigan.

He was ordained a priest in 1947 at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.

He had assignments in North Dakota, West Virginia, Minnesota and Wisconsin before joining the Archdiocese of Baltimore in the 1970s.

He was coordinator of food services in the Education Department of the archdiocese and was a curate at St. Luke's parish in Sparrows Point and at St. Bernard's on Gorsuch Avenue in Waverly. In 1976 he was named pastor of St. Gregory's Church, Gilmor and Baker streets. He later served at St. Cecilia's in Walbrook and at St. Elizabeth of Hungary in Patterson Park.

In 1978, he was appointed chaplain of Henryton Hospital, a Carroll County facility for the developmentally disabled. In 1983 he became the chaplain of Franklin Square Hospital in Rosedale, where he remained for five years. He then began ministering to the sick at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

His last assignment was as chaplain to the Gift of Hope Hospice on Collington Avenue in East Baltimore.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Athanasius Roman Catholic Church, Church and Prudence streets, Curtis Bay.

Monsignor Wisniewski is survived by two sisters, Mildred Keiser of Curtis Bay and Clara Wiseman of Atlanta, as well as nieces and nephews.

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