top of page

Arizona Daily Star, March 20, 1964, Part 1 of 2

Noted Prelate Daniel J. Gercke Succumbs At 89 By GEORGE RIDGE

Archbishop Daniel J. Gercke a lifelong "soldier of the Cross' died yesterday at the age of 89. For 37 years Archbishop Gercke headed the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson. Not long before his death, Archbishop Gercke commented: "I have been happy playing the role of a soldier of the Cross." He was influenced in his decision to come West by the book "Soldiers of the Cross" written by Archbishop John B. Salpointe, first bishop of Tucson. James Cardinal Mclntyre, archbishop of Los Angeles, will preside at the Solemn Pontifical Requiem Mass to be sung at San Augustin Cathedral at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Bishop Francis J. Green, who succeeded Archbishop Gercke as head of the diocese in 1960, will sing the mass. The Most Rev. Timothy F. Manning, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, will preach the sermon. Bishop Green was with the archbishop during his last hours and administered anointment rites. Death came at 5:15 a.m. at his residence on the grounds of St. Augustine's Cathedral. Burial will be in Holy Hope Cemetery. Perhaps the most eloquent testament to the growth of Arch bishop Gercke's diocese during his tenure can be found in comparative figures on the church's school system. When the arch bishop came to Arizona in 1923, there were 11 parochial elementary schools and one high school with a total enrollment of 2,267. In 1964, there are 48 elementary schools and 11 high schools in the system, with an enrollment of 25.592. Archbishop Gercke personally directed the vast expansion of the parochial school system. Possibly the source of his greatest satisfaction, however, was the Regina Cleri Seminary dedicated in the Rincon Foot hills in 1956. "We must train our priests for our diocese," he said. Archbishop Gercke always spent the night before his birthday at the seminary so he could begin the day by celebrating Mass for the students and faculty. "His name is held in respect and veneration by ail the bishops of the United States," said Bishop Green in a statement yesterday. Other tributes came from civic leaders, members of all faiths and state officials. "His support of programs relating to higher education and the assistance he gave in connection with student endeavors in the religious field have been of inestimable value," said Dr. Richard A. Harvill, president of the University of Arizona. Archbishop Gercke received the last rites of the church on Oct. 17 by the Rev. John Oliver, head of Catholic charities for the diocese. He had been in failing health for some time. Cardinal Mclntyre paid him high tribute when he said: "I am forced to recognize in Bishop Gercke the love and devotion that prompted the zeal of St. Paul and to observe many simi- (Continued on 1A, Col. 3)

14 views0 comments
bottom of page