The wake for Father James J. Vesely will begin with vespers at 3 p.m. Aug. 1 in St. Leo the Great Church, 4940 Broadview Road, Cleveland. Presiding will be Bishop Martin Amos, retired bishop of Davenport, Iowa. Homilist will be Father Jim Schmitz, pastor of St. Leo Parish. The wake will continue until 7 p.m. in the church.
Auxiliary Bishop emeritus Roger Gries will celebrate the funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Aug. 2 in St. Leo Church. Homilist will be Father Ned Weist, senior priest-retired.
Father Vesely, pastor emeritus of St. Thomas More Parish, Brooklyn, died July 27 at age 94. At the time of his death, he was the longest-ordained priest in the Diocese of Cleveland.
He was born Nov. 8, 1928 to the late James and Helen (Klein) Vesely. Father Vesely was educated at St. Michael School, Cleveland; Parmadale, Parma; Holy Name High School, Cleveland; Sacred Heart Seminary, Detroit, Michigan; and Saint Mary Seminary, Cleveland.
Archbishop Edward Hoban ordained him to the priesthood for service to the Diocese of Cleveland on Dec. 18, 1954, in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.
Father Vesely’s first assignment after ordination was as parochial vicar of St. Clare Parish, Lyndhurst. He was transferred on June 21, 1960 to serve as parochial vicar of Ascension Parish in Cleveland and was assigned as parochial vicar of St. John Nepomucene Parish in Cleveland on Sept. 13, 1962. Father Vesely was named parochial vicar of St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Parma, on June 15, 1967 and on June 17, 1970, he was assigned parochial vicar of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Cleveland.
Father Vesely was named pastor of St. Procop Parish, Cleveland, on Jan. 9, 1973. He was appointed pastor of St. Thomas More Parish on June 23, 1987, and served there until his retirement on Oct. 3, 2005, when he became pastor emeritus.
Those who knew him said Father Vesely had a big heart, loved being a priest and was well loved by his parishioners. They also said his booming voice and singing would be remembered by many.
Interment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery, Brook Park.