Obituaries, Week of May 28, 2022

Sister Winifred Cunniff, S.C, formerly Sister Ann Mark, a Sister of Charity-Halifax for 65 years, died on May 10 at the age of 85.

Sister Winifred Cunniff, S.C.

Sister Winifred attended Resurrection-Ascension School and was a resident of Rego Park until she entered the order in 1954. Sister Winifred was professed in 1957 and was missioned to New York where she began her ministry as an elementary school teacher at Saint Sylvester School in Brooklyn.

Following this assignment, she served as a teacher and vice principal at Seton Hall High School in Patchogue, New York. Sister Winifred subsequently moved into parish ministry, in Saint Barnabas Parish, Bellmore; Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish, Forest Hills; Saint Mary Magdalene Parish, Springfield Gardens, New York; Saint Laurence Parish, Brooklyn; Saint Gabriel Parish, East Elmhurst, New York, and Our Lady of Loretto Parish, Hempstead, New York, serving at different times as the Director of Religious Education, Pastoral Associate and Retreat Director.

She was predeceased by her brother, John Cunniff. She leaves her loving sister, Ann O’Connell, her brothers, Patrick Cunniff and Mark Cunniff, sister-in-law, Linda, and many nieces and nephews as well as her sisters in the congregation.

Sister Winifred retired and lived at Mount Saint Vincent, Wellesley, Massachusetts from 2016 until her death. A funeral Mass was held on May 13 at Saint John the Evangelist Parish, Wellesley, Massachusetts. Interment was at Saint Mary’s Cemetery, Needham, Massachusetts.

Deacon William Martin Williamsen, a retired deacon of the Diocese of Brooklyn, died Saturday, May 14, 2022.

Deacon William Martin Williamsen
Deacon William Martin Williamsen

Born in Brooklyn on August 3, 1930, the son of William and Mildred Clement Williamsen,

Williamsen served in the U.S. Army, Artillery Division, from October 1951 to October 1953

Williamsen began his life with Florence on March 31, 1951.

Shortly after they were married, he was called to serve in the U.S. Army, where he served for two years during the Korean War until he was honorably discharged. God gifted them with their three children, Geraldine, Gerard, and Stephen.

Williamsen demonstrated his faithfulness by becoming a permanent deacon over 40 years ago. He was ordained at the Cathedral Basilica of St. James by Bishop Francis J. Mugavero on December 5, 1981, and assigned as a deacon to St. Saviour Parish, Park Slope.

As a deacon, he did hospital ministry at Methodist Hospital; issued baptism instructions at the parish; and made regular visits to the homebound, administering the sacrament of the Eucharist. He also volunteered at Norwegian Home for the Aged and Long Island College Hospital and completed six units of pastoral care of the sick training at Kings County Hospital. He retired from active ministry in December 2009.

Deacon Williamsen was an active member of the Knights of Columbus, achieving the rank of fourth degree. He was also a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre. More recently, when he and Florence were unable to go to Mass independently, they decided to become parishioners of Holy Name of Jesus Church, Park Slope, where his daughter and her family were active members.

“Bill was a faithful, loving, and kind man who has touched the lives of so many people over the years. He will be truly missed by those who had the pleasure of knowing him,” said Father Lawrence Ryan, pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Church.

Deacon Williamsen is survived by his wife, their three children, and 11 grandchildren.

A funeral Mass was celebrated Thursday, May 19, at Holy Name of Jesus Church in Park Slope.

The main celebrant was Bishop Witold Mroziewski, Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn. The homilist was Father Lawrence Ryan. Interment followed at St. John’s Cemetery in Queens.

Bishop Wcela, Retired Auxiliary of Rockville Centre, Dies at Age 91

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (CNS) — Retired Auxiliary Bishop Emil A. Wcela of Rockville Centre died May 21 at age 91.

Bishop Wcela
Bishop Wcela

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.”

“We give thanks to almighty God for the life and priesthood of Bishop Emil Wcela,” Bishop Barres said. “He served the people of the Diocese of Rockville Centre for over 65 years in our parishes. … His passion for the word of God inspired generations and helped many to know the love and mercy of God.”

A wake was scheduled for May 26 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Riverhead, New York, followed by a 7:30 p.m. vigil Mass of transferral. The funeral Mass is scheduled to be celebrated on May 27 at 11 a.m. at the Church of St. John Nepomucene in Bohemia, New York.

Born in Bohemia, New York, on May 1, 1931, Emil Aloysius Wcela attended St. John Nepomucene School in Bohemia and graduated from Seton Hall High School in Patchogue, New York. He went on to St. Francis College in Brooklyn, and studied for the priesthood at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, New York. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Brooklyn on June 2, 1956, and was incardinated into the Diocese of Rockville Centre after it was created the following year.

After serving as associate pastor of Maria Regina Church in Seaford, New York, he was appointed in 1959 to the faculty of St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary, where he taught Latin. During this time, he also served as chaplain of the Newman Club at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

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

Bishop Wcela was the author of six books in a Bible study series, “God’s Word Today,” published by the Pueblo Publishing Co., and of many articles and book reviews in such publications as the Catholic Biblical Quarterly and The Bible Today.

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