Right Reverend Monsignor Leon A. Mosko, mitred archpriest, age 91, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame member for education and religious service, died September 21, 2021 in Stamford, CT.
Msgr. Leon was born November 19, 1929 in Perth Amboy, NJ and belonged to the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Assumption. He attended public schools, graduating from Perth Amboy High School in 1947. He was inducted into the Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame in 1988 for education and religious service.
He graduated with a B.A. degree from St. Basil College, Stamford, CT in 1952, completed theological studies and graduate studies in English and Drama at The Catholic University of America in 1956, earned an M.A. in Education at Fairfield University in 1962, and continued graduate studies in Education at St. John’s University. He was awarded a doctorate, honoris causa, from St. Basil College in 2004.
Msgr. Leon was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Ambrose Senyshyn, OSBM, in the old Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Philadelphia on June 14, 1956. He was incardinated into the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Stamford on August 17, 1956, in order to teach at St. Basil Prep School. He served in the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Stamford for his entire career, holding responsible academic and administrative positions.
Msgr. Leon was an English teacher from 1956 to 1964; then, from 1964 to 1981, was the principal; and from 1969 to 1981, was the rector of St. Basil Prep School in Stamford, CT. He loved directing theatrical presentations, building self-confidence in his students while presenting such plays as "Everyman," "Julius Caesar," and "The Caine Mutiny." Msgr. Leon later served as rector of St. Basil College of the Ukrainian Catholic Seminary, Stamford, CT; rector of St. Josaphat Seminary, Washington, DC; rector of St. Vladimir Cathedral, Stamford; editor of the Stamford eparchial newspaper, “The Sower,” for two decades; and chancellor of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Stamford.
Msgr. Leon also held parochial positions in Spring Valley, NY, New Britain, CT., and Ansonia, CT, and served as chaplain to the Missionary Sisters of Mother of God of Stamford, CT. Msgr. Leon visited Assumption Parish in Perth Amboy, his home parish, as often as his duties allowed. The parish enjoyed his engaging, often witty, speeches at banquets and his profound sermons. He was the first priestly vocation from his parish.
On May 12, 1978, he was elevated to the rank of papal chaplain, with the title Very Reverend Monsignor, by Pope Paul VI. He was elevated to the rank of papal chamberlain, with the title Right Reverend Monsignor, by Pope John Paul II, in 1992. Major Archbishop Lubomyr Cardinal Husar conferred the title of mitred archpriest on Msgr. Leon in 2005.
In 2004, he was appointed by The Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education as one of 64 priests and bishops from the US to serve as apostolic visitors for the Apostolic Visitation of U.S. Seminaries and Houses of Formation. Msgr. Leon retired from active priestly duties in 2008 due to health, yet continued to minister to friends and family until his death.
Msgr. Leon will be best remembered for his role in the formation of priests and the education of the many students who have become positive contributors to American society. Later in life, a great joy was to converse with former students, who found that the once no-nonsense principal and headmaster was affable. He was known for his eloquence when preaching, teaching, and giving speeches, and for his part in making the eparchial newspaper, “The Sower,” a world-class Catholic newspaper. He had high standards for himself and expected no less from others.
His interests included: book collecting and reading, photography, art, iconography, antiques, drama and travel to Great Britain, Ukraine, and Rome. Before it was faddish, he was a genealogist who did initial research and debriefed older family members. Along with his nephew John, he loved to find and even befriend distant cousins. An avid reader, he did not allow his years of blindness to curtail his continuing education, listening to some 800 books for the blind.
Msgr. Leon was the son of Thomas Mosko, whose parents were Leon and Alexandrina (Chowanec) Moszczar, ethnic Lemkos from Labowa, Nowy Sacz, Galicia, Austria-Hungary; and Mary (Suszko) Mosko, daughter of Antoni and Salomea (Pastuszak), Greek-Catholics from Dudynce, Sanok, Galicia, Austria-Hungary; both locations are in present-day Poland. The Moszczar, later Mosko, family was one of the first Slavic families in Perth Amboy, NJ, settling there in 1883.
Msgr. Leon was predeceased by his brother John and his wife Helen T. (Guido/Gajdos) Mosko, and three infant siblings: Adam, Thomas. Jr., and Mary Irene. He is survived by nieces Rosemary Mosko; Janice H. Mosko, who selflessly devoted a year and a half to care for him; and a nephew and advisor, John T. Mosko and his wife Pamela and their children Jonathan; Alexander, who is studying for the priesthood with the Philadelphia Oratory as Brother Joseph; and Elizabeth. He is survived by his cousins Lorraine Fogleo Doyle and Robert and Maryann Mosko and the descendants of the Suszko families of Marion Heights (Keiser), PA. He is a cousin of the late Sister Gabriel, O.S.B.M. and the late Sister Viterbia C.S.S.F.
Msgr. Leon cherished his “family” away from home for these sixty-five years: the dedicated eparchial staff in Stamford; especially, most recently, when support was most needed: Bishop Paul Chomnycky, Bishop Bohdan Danylo, Very Rev. Archpriest Bohdan Tymchyshyn, Ksenia Dragan, Vasile Popovici, the late Father Robert Markovich M.D., and the wonderful and caring Catechists of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: Superior Vera, Cecelia, Elizabeth, Julia, and Natalia.
Msgr. Leon valued and respected the many persons and families, teachers and staffs, associated with the eparchy, college, prep school, "The Sower," and seminary who supported him over so many decades. In particular, he valued his association with The Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate of Sloatsburg, NY, for whom, he was honored to serve as spiritual director of the annual Dormition Pilgrimage. He would reminisce sentimentally about the incredibly dedicated staff that he was honored to work with over 65 years in Stamford, expressing surprise that he survived almost all of his peers and even grieving the death of younger clergy and students.
Being an eparchial staff priest, without a parish, Msgr. Leon treasured his long-time relationships with families who befriended him: including the Bumbar, Gaudio, Grogoza/Martin, Kezel, Kocinski, Lencyk, Lohotsky, Miller, Prevost, Robertson, Roman, Sowa, Stremba, and Yaremko families.
Above all, his lifelong devotion to service and duty, his whole-hearted dedication to the students and staff at St. Basil's, his reverence for liturgy and the sacraments, his dignified magnanimity, and his forbearance with his serious health issues, all testify to a relentless trust in Christ throughout his life, one which was spent entirely in service to the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church.
Funeral arrangements are as follows: Viewing with parastas will be Thursday evening, September 23rd, 7:00 PM, in St. Basil College Seminary Chapel, 195 Glenbrook Rd, Stamford CT 06902. Requiem Divine Liturgy will be Friday, September 24th, at 10:30 AM, also in St. Basil College Seminary Chapel.
Requiem Divine Liturgy in his home parish and burial in the parish cemetery will be Saturday, September 25th with viewing at 9:30 am and Divine Liturgy at 10:30 am, Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Assumption, 684 Alta Vista Place, Perth Amboy NJ. 08861. Interment will be in the family plot at the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Assumption Cemetery, Florida Grove Road, Hopelawn, NJ.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Basil Seminary, 195 Glenbrook Road, Stamford CT 06902 www.stbasilseminary.com
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