Funeral Mass in Peru for Fr. Bawiec

PERU — Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, celebrated a funeral Mass on Monday at St. Valentine’s Church here for Father Edward J. Bawiec, 83, a senior priest of the Diocese of Peoria and pastor emeritus of St. Valentine’s Parish.

Father Bawiec, a native of Oglesby and a World War II veteran, died at 4:10 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 17, 2008, at Manor Court in Peru, where he was a resident.

The homilist at the funeral Mass was Father William Gardner, pastor of St. Valentine’s Parish. He called Father Bawiec “a man of strong faith and devotion” who “touched the lives of thousands in his ministry as a priest.”

Burial followed at St. Vincent’s Cemetery in LaSalle, with military honors by the LaSalle/Oglesby Veterans Memorial Group.

Born in Oglesby on Jan. 21, 1925, to Francis and Antoinette (Parat) Bawiec, he attended Sacred Heart School in Oglesby from 1931 to 1939 and graduated from LaSalle-Peru Township High School in 1943.

He went to college at St. Bede Academy in Peru and studied philosophy at St. Ambrose University in Davenport. He completed his seminary studies at St. Meinrad’s in Indiana and was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria at St. Mary’s Cathedral on June 6, 1954, by Bishop William E. Cousins.

During the 54 years of his priestly ministry, Father Bawiec served as assistant pastor at St. Anthony’s Parish, Atkinson, and Holy Cross Parish, Mendota. He was named pastor of St. Mary’s Parish, DePue, in 1966. Six years later he became pastor of St. Anne’s Parish in East Moline.

In 1975, he began 12 years of service as pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Streator. He guided St. Valentine’s, Peru, from 1990 until his appointment to senior priest status and pastor emeritus in 1997.

Father Bawiec was a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus and chaplain of the Oglesby Elks and Catholic War Veterans. He was a frequent contributor to the Religion section of the LaSalle-Peru NewsTribune.

Preceded in death by four brothers and five sisters, Father Bawiec is survived by many nieces and nephews.

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