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obit: Msgr. Edward Matocha

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  • Rosemary Ermis
    Austin American-Statesman (TX) - November 12, 2009 Deceased Name: Edward Matocha: Priest was walking history of diocese When Edward Matocha came to Austin in
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2010
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      Austin American-Statesman (TX) - November 12, 2009

      Deceased Name: Edward Matocha: Priest was 'walking history' of diocese

      When Edward Matocha came to Austin in 1947, he was the only ordained Catholic priest in the area. Over the next 60 years, he helped start the Austin Diocese, stood in as second in command to its bishops and became, in the eyes of other church leaders, the anchor and the history of the diocese.

      Matocha, 88, died Wednesday, more than two years after a fall that he never fully recovered from, church officials said. The monsignor had lived at West Oaks Rehabilitation Center since February 2008.

      "Ed has been here from the first day of the diocese, and it was the center of his life until (Wednesday)," former Bishop John McCarthy said. "It's like the walking history of our diocese has died."

      Born in Cameron, Matocha was ordained in Galveston in 1945 before coming to Austin.

      "Matocha was the only diocesan priest for Austin," McCarthy said.

      Matocha was named chancellor of the Austin Diocese about 1949 and given the duties of witnessing signatures on important documents and acting as the diocese's archivist, according to the diocese. About the same time, he served as the chaplain of Seton Hospitals. He served as secretary to his friend Bishop Louis J. Reicher and was the founding pastor of St. Louis Catholic Church on Burnet Road in North Austin in 1952.

      Bishop Vincent Harris later named him vicar general of the diocese - basically the second in command to the bishop for executive and administrative matters.

      Christian González, director of communications for the diocese, said Matocha was the rector at St. Mary Cathedral downtown from 1990 until his retirement in 2000. Matocha also served as the pastor at St. Teresa's on 11th Street.

      "He is one of our priests that has been around since the diocese began," González said. "He is someone who everyone will recognize his name, or for sure his face."

      Monsignor Victor Goertz worked with Matocha for about eight years in the 1950s and '60s and said one of Matocha's strengths was his reliability.

      "He didn't have to do anything extraordinary to be remembered," Goertz said. "He just did the everyday things extraordinarily well."

      Goertz and McCarthy described Matocha as a quiet man who was kind to everyone and had the reputation around the diocese of having an almost photographic memory.

      "He never forgot anyone once he met you," McCarthy said.

      Goertz remembered Matocha's habit of walking from St. Mary's downtown to the hike-and-bike trail around Lady Bird Lake.

      "I would say, in a sense, just the fact that he was here, was the definition of continuity and consistency," Goertz said.

      A rosary has been scheduled for 7:30 p.m. today at St. Mary Cathedral. Funeral services have been set for 2 p.m. Friday at St. Mary's, followed by burial at Assumption Cemetery
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