Retired Auxiliary Bishop, Diocese of Rockville Centre
Bishop Emil Aloysius Wcela was born in Bohemia, New York on May 1, 1931. He received his formal education at St. John Nepomucene School, Bohemia; Seton Hall High School, Patchogue; St. Francis College, Brooklyn; and Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 2, l956. After serving as associate pastor of Maria Regina Church, Seaford, he was appointed in 1959 to the faculty of St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary where he taught Latin. During this time he also served as chaplain of the Newman Club at Hofstra University.
Bishop Wcela pursued classical studies at Fordham University and in l961 he was assigned to advanced studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and then at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. He has MA degrees in Classical Studies from Fordham and in Semitic Studies from Catholic University. He also has licentiates (degrees which require more credits than master’s degrees but are not at the doctoral level) in theology from The Catholic University of America and in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute. He also studied at the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem.
In 1965, Bishop Wcela was assigned to the faculty of Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, where he also served as rector from 1973 to 1979. He also served as director of the program for the continuing education of priests from 1969 to 1975. Bishop Wcela is the author of six books in a Bible study series, “God’s Word Today,” published by the Pueblo Publishing Company, and of many articles and book reviews in such publications as the Catholic Biblical Quarterly and The Bible Today.
In 1979, Bishop Wcela was named pastor of St. Joseph’s Church, Garden City. He served there until 1987 when he took a sabbatical at Immaculate Conception Seminary. On January 21, 1988, Bishop Wcela was named founding pastor of Resurrection Church, Farmingville. He has also served on the Priest Personnel Board, which advises Bishop Murphy on policy governing the assignment of priests to parishes; the Priest Personnel Policy Board, advisor to the Bishop on policy relating to those assignments; and the Priest Senate which is the Bishop’s chief advisory body for diocesan policy. In 1980, Bishop Wcela was named an honorary prelate to His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, with the title, “Monsignor.”
On October 25th, 1988, Pope John Paul II appointed him auxiliary bishop of the Rockville Centre Diocese and he was ordained on December 13th, l988 at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre. He served as vicar for the Eastern Vicariate of the diocese until his retirement on April 3, 2007.
Bishop Wcela has served in the following capacities for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops: member and then chairman, Committee on Pastoral Practices; Chairman, Ad Hoc Committee on the Age of Confirmation; Administrative Board of the NCCB; Committee on the Liturgy; Lectionary Subcommittee; Laity Committee’s Subcommittee on Lay Ministry; and Ad Hoc Committee on the Interdicasterial Instruction. Bishop Wcela retired April 3, 2007.
Bishop Wcela’s brother and sister-in-law, Joseph and Barbara Wcela, live in Florida. His mother, Albina Kovarik Wcela, passed away on January 4, 1996, and his father, Emil, died in 1970.