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Willard J. Rucinski

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Rev. Willard J. Rucinski, 73, a priest with the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales living at their Salesianum School Faculty House, died of natural causes, October 28, 2010, at Wilmington Hospital, as two of his brother priests and two of his closest friends prayed with him. He had been retired at the Oblates' house after serving more than 40 years as a Catholic school teacher, Salesianum administrator, seminary professor, and pastor in schools and churches along the East Coast.
"Fr. Rucinski brought his generous spirit and sharp intellect to all of his ministries," Fr. James J. Greenfield, OSFS, provincial, said. "He was genuinely loved by his North Carolina parishioners, who surprised him by coordinating the furnishing of his rooms for his retirement after his recent departure from their church in Fayetteville. And, just two weeks ago, he delivered a lecture to all of the area Oblates on his reflections of the historic Second Vatican Council, as he was one of only a few surviving priests in the area who attended this international gathering."
A native of Wilmington, young Willard graduated from St. Hedwig School and then Salesianum, where he met the Oblates and joined their seminary after his graduation in 1955. He continued his studies at Niagara Univeristy in New York, University of St. Thomas in Rome, and the Catholic University of America in D.C., earning advanced degrees in theology, which qualified him to teach at the Oblates' seminary prior to spending 11 years at Salesianum School as a teacher and administrator. He was ordained a priest in Rome in 1965.
"We have been friends since our kindergarten class in 1942," Wilmington lawyer Fran Trzuskowski said after Fr. Rucinski's death. "From his earliest days until his most recent years, he was known for his intelligence. I appreciated his wise counsel. His feet were always on the ground. He was a solid guy for all people, from adults to young people."
In addition to his confreres in the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales and his friends in the Wilmington area, Fr. Rucinski is survived by his sister, Bernadine Carrington; niece, Cyndy Carrington-Miller; and nephew, R. Gregory Carrington. His deceased parents are William and Carrie Banaszak Rucinski.
Relatives and friends are invited to a Viewing, Wednesday, November 3, 9-10:45 am, and the Mass of Christian Burial following at 11 am, at St. Hedwig Church, 408 S. Harrison Street, Wilmington, DE, 19805. Interment immediately to follow at the Oblates' Cemetery, 1120 Blue Ball Road, Elkton, MD, 21921.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, P.O. Box 87, Childs, MD, 21916-0087.

Published in The News Journal from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, 2010
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