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In remembrance – Father Dominic Mondzelewski, OSB

In Remembrance

June 15, 2021

The wake for Father Dominic Mondzelewski, OSB will be 2-6:30 p.m. June 16 in the Abbey Church at St. Andrew Abbey, 2900 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Cleveland (behind Benedictine High School).

Abbot Gary Hoover, OSB will celebrate the funeral Mass at 7 p.m. June 16 in the Abbey Church.

Father Mondzelewski, 79, who was a Benedictine monk for 58 years, died on June 13.

He is survived by members of the Benedictine Order of Cleveland; a brother Dr. James Mondzelewski (Yolanda) of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and a sister, Kathryn Lepore (Michael) of Cincinnati. He also is a cousin of Bishop David Walkowiak, bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Born in 1942, Father Mondzelewski, who was baptized as Michael, was the oldest of the late John and Sonya (Dziedzicki) Mondzelewski’s three children. He was educated at SS. Peter and Paul School in Garfield Heights and graduated in 1960 from Benedictine High School in Cleveland, where he was an honors student and a star first and third baseman for the Bengals varsity baseball team. Father Mondzelewski enrolled at the University of Notre Dame where he planned to major in chemistry. However, after his freshman year, he felt the call of a vocation to the Benedictine monastic life and began preparations to enter the order at St. Andrew Abbey. He received the religious name of Dominic and professed his first vows in 1963.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Borromeo Seminary College in 1965 and began theological studies at the former Blessed Sacrament Seminary in Cleveland before transferring to Saint Mary Seminary in Cleveland for the final two years. He was ordained to the priesthood with two Benedictine priest classmates by Auxiliary Bishop William Cosgrove on June 7, 1969 in St. Benedict Church in Cleveland. The homily at his first Mass was preached by his uncle, Msgr. Edmund Mondzelewski, who at that time was serving as pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Church.

After ordination, Father Mondzelewski was assigned to the faculty at Benedictine High School where he taught social studies before moving into the administration. From 1970-1977, he served as assistant principal before being named principal in 1977. He achieved a record 17 years in that leadership role. Father Mondzelewski used his interest and talent in athletics by coaching the varsity tennis team, junior varsity baseball team and varsity cross country team at various intervals.

He was able to navigate Benedictine through the economic and demographic challenges of the time, bringing enrollment back to a 12-year high of 616 young men in 1982.

After stepping down as principal in 1994, he resumed a full teaching load in the social studies department until health issues ended his classroom career in 2007.

While serving at Benedictine, Father Mondzelewski began providing weekend sacramental ministry in 1977 at the former St. Lawrence Slovenian Parish in Cleveland. In 1997, he agreed to serve as administrator of the parish until it closed in 2010. He was well liked by parishioners who said they appreciated the sacrifices he made to help keep the parish open during its final decade.

Father Mondzelewski moved to Regina Health Center in 2007 when he began dealing with a series of health challenges. He remained there the last 14 years of his life and became a well-known and respected member of the Regina Health Center community. He developed friendships with residents and staff and functioned as an extension of the pastoral ministry team.

Father Mondzelewski is remembered as always being kind and presenting a positive attitude in the midst of his own challenges. He offered prayers and emotional support to many people he met at Regina while also maintaining long-term friendships from earlier ministries in his priesthood.

Burial will be at 10 a.m. June 17 in the monastic plot at Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland.

Memorial contributions are suggested to Benedictine High School, 2900 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Cleveland, Ohio 44104.

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