June 30, 2023

Father Paul Dede led Bloomington Deanery parish for 22 years

By Sean Gallagher

Father Paul DedeFather Paul Dede, a retired archdiocesan priest, died on June 19 at Providence Health Care at St. Mary-of-the-Woods. He was 85.

The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on June 26 at St. Jude the Apostle Parish in Spencer.

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson was the principal celebrant. Retired Father William Ernst was the homilist.

Burial followed at Calvary Cemetery in Terre Haute.

Father Dede came from a Terre Haute family with several priestly and religious vocations. He is the last of the three sons of the family who were ordained as archdiocesan priests. Father James Dede died in 2002. Father John Dede died in 2005.

The five Dede daughters all entered religious life. Three who survive Father Dede are Providence Sister Eileen, Providence Sister Kathleen and Providence Sister Mary Mark Dede.

Benedictine Sister Patricia Dede, who also survives Father Dede, is a founding member of Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove who entered religious life as a member of Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Ind., in the Evansville Diocese.

Sister Angele Dede died in 2000.

Sister Patricia spoke with The Criterion about what in her family’s life led her and her siblings to discern their vocations in the Church.

“Our parents were not pious people,” said Sister Patricia, who is 89. “But they were always faithful to the Church. The Church was just part of our life. If there was something going on at the [parish], you knew that that was where you were going to be.

“I compare us to families where there are several doctors or lawyers. Maybe the younger ones see that the older ones are happy in what they do and that it was worthwhile. Then

you go ahead and try it yourself and find out that you do like it—you love it.”

Father Paul Dede was the youngest child in the family. Ordained an archdiocesan priest in 1964, he ministered in parishes across central and southern Indiana and for periods as a hospital and military chaplain.

For the 22 years before his retirement in 2008, he led St. Jude the Apostle Parish in Spencer.

Just as the family in which Father Dede grew up was important to his discernment, so St. Jude was like a family to him during his two decades in the Bloomington Deanery faith community, said two parishioners there who assisted him in his ministry.

“The parish meant everything to him,” said Sandra Davies, who served as St. Jude’s secretary under Father Dede. “It was his life and his work. The parishioners were his family.

“Everybody loved Father Dede. He cared for the parishioners. He was generous and was always there for them. He never hesitated to help anyone.”

Monica Clouser, St. Jude’s current secretary and coordinator of religious education, recalled how Father Dede was instrumental in bringing the small parish community together to support the building of its current church, which was constructed in 2000.

“We had some great parishioners who saw the same vision that he had,” Clouser said. “Everybody worked together. It was teamwork.

“This place was where he was the happiest. He liked things simple and enjoyed his life here.”

Paul Michael Dede was born on May 21, 1938, to the late Arthur and Helen (O’Leary) Dede in Terre Haute, where he grew up as a member of the former St. Ann Parish.

Father Dede became an archdiocesan seminarian after graduating from the eighth grade at the former St. Ann School.

He received priestly formation in high school at the former Saint Meinrad Minor Seminary in St. Meinrad, and in college at the former St. Mary College in St. Mary, Ky. Father Dede completed priestly formation at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis

Father Dede was ordained a priest on May 3, 1964, by Archbishop Paul C. Schulte at the Archabbey Church of Our Lady of Einsiedeln in St. Meinrad. He celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving on May 10 at St. Margaret Mary Church in Terre Haute.

Father Dede served in his pastoral assignment from 1964-65 as associate pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish and as an instructor at Father Thomas Scecina Memorial High School, both in Indianapolis.

From 1965-69, he ministered as associate pastor of St. Malachy Parish in Brownsburg and as an instructor at Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis.

Father Dede served from 1969-71 as associate pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Jeffersonville.

From 1971-74, he ministered as a chaplain in the U.S. Army.

Returning to the archdiocese in 1974, Father Dede was appointed pastor of St. Mary Parish in Navilleton, where he served for one year.

From 1975-76, he ministered as administrator of the former St. Mary-of-the-Rock Parish and St. Cecilia Parish (now the Oratory of SS. Philomena and Cecilia), both in Franklin County.

Father Dede served as pastor of St. Mary Parish in Mitchell from 1976-77.

He then took part in clinical pastoral education from 1977-79 at St. Raphael Hospital in New Haven, Conn. In 1979, he was given permission to minister in the Diocese of Saginaw, Mich. Father Dede served again as a military chaplain from 1980-83.

From 1983-86, he ministered as a hospital chaplain, first at St. Joseph Hospital in Houston, then at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Biloxi, Miss.

In 1986, Father Dede began ministry at St. Jude the Apostle Parish in Spencer, where he ministered until his retirement in 2008. He served there as administrator from 1986-93 and as pastor from 1993-2008.

Surviving are four sisters: Providence Sister Eileen, Providence Sister Kathleen and Providence Sister Mary Mark Dede and Benedictine Sister Patricia Dede.

Memorial contributions may be sent to St. Jude the Apostle Parish,

300 W. Hillside Ave., P.O. Box 317, Spencer, IN 47460-0317; to the retirement fund of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, 1 Sisters of Providence, St. Mary-of-the-Woods, IN 47876-1007; or to the retirement fund ofOur Lady of Grace Monastery, 1402 Southern Ave., Beech Grove, IN 46107. †

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