Gracz, Henry

GRACZ, Monsignor Henry

September 27, 1939 – February 5, 2024

Reverend Monsignor Henry Charles Gracz handed away peacefully at residence, after a sudden prognosis of most cancers. He’s now seated on the desk of the Lord, alongside his loving dad and mom, Irene and Henry, and his expensive brother-in-law, John.

Henry was born on the chilly shores of Buffalo, New York, on the eve of World Struggle II. He studied with the Jesuits at Canisius College and attended seminary at Christ the King within the Buffalo space, with graduate work at Fordham College and The Catholic College. He was ordained to the priesthood on Might 8, 1965, a day he felt was extra essential than his birthday.

Henry moved to Georgia almost 60 years in the past, when he was assigned to St. Joseph’s Athens. Over the many years, he served at a number of parishes all through the Atlanta space. He was named Pastor of The Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Atlanta in 2001 – a place he held till his dying. He was particularly proud to shepherd The Shrine by means of its a hundred and seventy fifth anniversary 12 months.

At The Shrine, Henry fostered an inclusive group that welcomed folks from all walks of life. He was particularly devoted to making a secure, compassionate residence for LGBTQ individuals who had been damage by the Church; simply this previous October, 84-year-old Henry ministered in a sales space on the Atlanta Satisfaction Parade, which he had participated in for over twenty years. He was additionally deeply involved with social justice, the poor, and the unhoused. He labored alongside his fellow downtown church buildings to suggest mixed-income housing in downtown Atlanta, and was identified to ask unhoused individuals into his research to listen to their religious and sensible issues.

Throughout the years, Henry baptized hundreds of kids and celebrated numerous weddings. He liked to information {couples} by means of the wedding course of and was notably obsessed with serving to each companions establish persona kinds and potential sources of battle. He was ardently concerned in ecumenical and interfaith work, and concelebrated many Jewish-Catholic weddings over time.

Greater than something, Henry was deeply engaged with the work of spirituality. He believed that God met folks, the place they had been and agreed with Rumi that “There are as many paths to God as there are souls on the Earth.” Each soul who encountered Henry felt the expansive, compassionate love behind his putting blue eyes. He was a mushy place to land for each weary seeker.

Folks will keep in mind Henry for his unbelievable ministry, however he was a down-to-earth man who loved the easy pleasures of life. He cherished music and was desirous to share songs and performances with others, usually whipping out his telephone to play a YouTube video on full quantity. He additionally liked to bop, at all times plucking parishioners from the group throughout feast day events. He loved pickles, mustard, key lime pie, Cook dinner Out shakes, and glass of wine. He carefully adopted the information and watched recordings of The Each day Present when he could not sleep; his automobile radio was perpetually tuned to NPR. He was happy with his Polish heritage and loved bantering in Polish together with his expensive pal, Lee DeSandre. He liked to journey and was notably taken with the seashores of Mexico. He liked rain storms, the autumn season, and animals; his fixed companion in his remaining 12 months of life was his rescue canine, Señor Taco, who usually sat by his toes whereas Henry recommended parishioners.

Above all, Henry cherished his household. He spoke to his sister, Joan, day by day – at all times ending the telephone name with a easy “Love you.” He was very near Joan and John’s 4 youngsters, Mark, Cindy, Pam, and Dean; he stored their greeting playing cards and liked to point out off the blankets they knitted for him. Henry was additionally dearly dedicated to his buddies, who had been like his second household.

Henry is survived by his cherished sister, Joan Evaniak; nephews, Mark Evaniak and Dean Evaniak; nieces, Cynthia Kearns (Lance) and Pamela Alexander (John); his adoring canine companion, Señor Taco; and his devoted buddies, Jerry Bryant, Ricardo Navarro, Patricia Gardella, Helen Ray, and Dan Parodi.

A Funeral Mass and celebration of life shall be held on Saturday, February 24, 2024 at 11 AM, at The Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 48 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SW, Atlanta, Georgia. All are welcome. Rich attorneys will sit alongside unhoused individuals, bishops beside queer individuals, black and white and all stripes of individuals coming collectively to rejoice this beloved man.

In lieu of flowers, donations could also be made to Our Girl of Perpetual Assist Most cancers Residence in Atlanta. To honor Henry, we hope you’ll dance with a pal, take pleasure in a tangy slice of key lime pie, and share your love with somebody who wants you.

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