Rev. Mitch Fidyka, a priest for more than 40 years and most recently the pastor of St. Thomas More parish, has died of cancer Jan. 28. He was 69.
“I was ordained to the priesthood over 40 years ago, a decision I have never regretted for a single moment,” Father Fidyka wrote in a 2022 letter to the parish of St. Thomas More, his last parish.
“You have invited me to officiate at your marriages and baptisms. I have been able to baptize over a thousand children and adminster First Communion to even more children. Faithfully, you have come to me for confessions and called me to minister to you in illness.
“I have loved and treasured every moment of the priestly life. I thank you for your prayerful participation in parish life and pray that you will continue to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ,” Father Fidyka wrote.
“Wherever my journey takes me, I am confident that the Lord is by my side.”
Mieczyslaw “Mitch” Fidyka was born on Dec. 28, 1953 in Katowice, Poland. He was ordained June 14, 1981 in Obra, Poland, as priest for the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. In 1999, Father Fidyka was incardinated as priest for the Archdiocese of Edmonton.
In the Archdiocese, Father Fidyka began as associate pastor at Holy Rosary parish in 1987. He then served Our Lady Queen of Poland parish, Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in Bashaw, St. Augustine parish in Ponoka and as pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Wetaskiwin (including Our Lady of Seven Sorrows parish in Maskwacis and St. Theresa parish in Ma-Me-O Beach).
From 2005 on, Father Fidyka served at Holy Family parish in St. Albert and, in Edmonton, St. Michael’s-Resurrection and Assumption parishes. Father Fidyka also served as dean and vice-dean of the Camrose and Edmonton South deaneries. He was also a member of the Archdiocesan clergy personnel committee and the College of Consultors to Archbishop Richard Smith.
In 2018, Father Fidyka was appointed pastor at St. Thomas More parish in Edmonton. He led the efforts to secure a site, and to begin to fundraise, for a future church in southwest Edmonton to be built over the next 15 years. Father Fidyka also led efforts to support the rebuilding and restoration of Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples after a fire in 2020.
In February 2022, Father Fidyka took a leave due to illness. He retired on May 1, 2022. Father Fidyka had been living in Edmonton at the Villa Vianney residence for retired priests.
Vigil Prayers for Father Fidyka will be held at St. Joseph’s Basilica on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at the Basilica on Feb. 3 at 10 a.m. with Archbishop Smith as the celebrant. Burial will be at Holy Cross Cemetery.
A memorial Mass will be held Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. at St. Thomas More parish.