Msgr. Zube remembered at funeral for faithfulness, honor

A funeral Mass was offered at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria on Wednesday, April 20, for Msgr. Joseph A. Zube, 85, who served the Diocese of Peoria’s Marriage Tribunal for more than five decades.

Msgr. Zube, who was also a former pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish in Camp Grove and St. Monica’s Parish in East Peoria, died at 2:38 a.m. on Friday, April 15, 2011 at his West Peoria residence. He had continued assisting with the Tribunal until taking ill late last summer.

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, was principal celebrant of the funeral Mass, with Father Brian Brownsey as homilist.

Noting that Msgr. Zube was “a man of jurisprudence,” Father Brownsey noted that had he pursued secular law instead of church law he would probably be known as “Your Honor.”

But what made Msgr. Zube honorable, said Father Brownsey, was his faithfulness to God and to the priesthood even when he rarely received the “thank-you’s” and other rewards those whose priestly careers are spent in parish life might receive.

“The people he helped into heaven, the people he helped to encounter Jesus, the majority of them were not people that he ever saw,” said Father Brownsey of Msgr. Zube and his work on marriage cases. (A full text of Father Brownsey’s homily is found on this website.)

Born in Chicago on Sept. 8, 1925, to Joseph A. and Mary Dorothy Konstantinavicius Zube, he attended Sts. Peter and Paul Grade School in Chicago and high school and college at schools sponsored by the Society of the Divine Word in Iowa and Illinois. He continued his preparation for the priesthood at St. Mary’s Mission House in Techny and St. Mary of the West Seminary in Norwood, Ohio.

Ordained a priest of the Diocese of Peoria by Bishop William E. Cousins on May 3, 1953, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria, he served as parochial vicar of St. Patrick’s Parish in Ottawa for the following year. He was also appointed a notary to the diocesan Tribunal, the first of many Tribunal posts he would during the next 56 years, often while also serving in area parishes.

In 1954, Msgr. Zube left for two years of study at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., from which he earned a licentiate of canon law degree.

Her served as parochial vicar of St. Peter’s Parish, Peoria (1956 to 1958), and St. John’s Parish, Peoria (1958 to 1966). In 1966, he was appointed pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish, Camp Grove, and served there until he was appointed vice-chancellor of the Diocese of Peoria in 1969. He also served as pastor of St. Monica’s Parish, East Peoria, from 1982 to 1984.

His Tribunal posts have included serving as a synodal judge, officialis, defender of the bond, and associate judicial vicar. In 1983, he also was judge and defender of the bond for the Interdiocesan Court of Appeal for the Province of Chicago.

He was named a prelate of honor with the title of monsignor in 1993.

In an interview with The Catholic Post conducted on the occasion of his 50th anniversary of ordination in 2003, Msgr. Zube said that in his five decades of service to the Marriage Tribunal he had seen “tremendous changes” in the number of marriage cases and how they are processed.

He noted that Tribunal work is an effective form of pastoral outreach, especially to divorced and remarried Catholics seeking to return to full practice of their faith.

Msgr. Zube is survived by nine nieces and nephews and many friends. He was preceded in death by three brothers, John, Leonard and George; and one sister, Marion.

Graveside services were April 21 at St. Casimir Catholic Cemetery in Chicago with Father Brownsey officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Monica’s Parish in East Peoria.

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