This week we were marking an anniversary of the passing of Fr. Swirski here at St. Sebastian. On the same day we received notice that Fr. Al Kunkel passed away. In 1991 he was named pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Barberton replacing Fr. Joseph Ozemik. I was in the seminary at the time and found him to be a very supportive pastor. (Interestingly that is not always the case.) There is a part of the ordination ceremony when you honor a priest that was important to you by having him assist you when you vest for the first time in a priestly stole and chasuble and I asked Fr. Kunkel to perform that favor for me.
He also had restored a chalice and gave it to me to carry on the memories of the parish. It is a way to remember him and the parish of my youth when I celebrate Mass. Sacred Heart Parish is no longer in existence. It is now Prince of Peace Parish (at Sacred Heart church) and is no longer a Slovenian personal parish but a territorial parish (and going strong under the pastorship of Fr. Robert Jackson.) It is from there that he will be buried this Saturday.
Please consider saying a prayer for him and for all of our deceased priests.