The Dodge Criterion/Howells Pastor Passes Away Suddenly Monday
Howells Pastor Passes Away Suddenly Monday
Services for Rev. Joseph Vitko To Be Held Thursday
Father Vitko, pastor of the St. John Nepomucene Church of Howells died Monday, Oct. 20, at 2:30 p.m. He had suffered a heart attack two years ago. Since then he has been doctoring and for the last two months his condition has grown worse. Although confined to his bed and in a very weak condition, his death was sudden, probably another heart attack.
The funeral will be Thursday, Oct. 23 at 10:30 in the St. John’s Church in Howells, with interment in the Calvary Cemetery in Omaha. Due to the heavy schedule of Archbishop Gerald T. Bergan, his Excellency Bishop John Paschang of Grand Island will offer up the Pontifical Requiem High Mass on Thursday. He will be assisted by Msgr. Herman J. Kaup, as Archpriest; Father Francis J. Oborny and Father Wm. Klein as deacons of honor; Father Vaclav Kovar and Father Anthony Pluhacek as deacons of the Mass; Msgr. Daniel Sheehan will act as master of ceremonies. Father Charles J. Oborny of Verdigre will preach the funeral sermon.
Father Joseph J. Vitko was born in St. Michael’s parish in Chicago, Ill. on Oct. 22, 1897. He attended the parish school and then pursued his high school and college education at St. Procopius in Lisle, Ill. His Seminary studies were completed in the St. Paul Seminary in Minnesota. He was ordained to the Holy Priesthood in June 1922.
His first assignment was as assistant at St. Wenceslaus parish in Omaha. The same year of 1922 he became pastor of Schuyler with a mission at Wilson. From here he went to St. Adalbert’s parish in Omaha. Here after a serious illness he became Chaplain of the Notre Dame Sisters in Omaha for a number of years.
After his health improved he was appointed as pastor of Dixon, Nebraska with a mission at Waterbury. His next appointment found him in our locality at Aloys.
When Father Drbal resigned from St. John’s on account of advanced age, Father Vitko, in the spring of 1952 was appointed as pastor of St. John’s in Howells. Although of delicate health, Father Vitko in this short time built a modern parish school and immediately afterward a new pétich house.
At the time of his death, the parish had no debt left and a “Victory Dinner” was scheduled for the later part of October. Due to his efforts St. John’s becomes one of the choice parishes of the diocese.
One sister, Mrs. Louise Caulomde of Lombard, IIl. is his only survivor. His parents, 2 brothers and 2 sisters preceded him in death.
The body will lie in state from 1:00 p.m. Wednesday until the funeral services in St. John’s Church. Rosary services will be held at 7:00 and 8:00 p. m. Wednesday in the church.