By PAUL A. BARRA
TAYLORS — If the Upstate Deanery seems to go into mourning on Feb. 26, its collective sense of loss will be understandable. On that date, one of the heads of the Catholic family in this furthest removed area of the Diocese of Charleston will be leaving forever.
Sue Zedek, pastoral associate of Prince of Peace Parish and deanery coordinator, will move to southern New Jersey. She leaves behind a legacy of lay leadership in the Greenville area.
“My focus has been Synod implementation and stewardship, at the parish level and at the deanery level,” Zedek said “I’ve never met anything but kindness and openness here in the diocese. Because we’re so far from Charleston, we need a cooperative spirit in our deanery and the people have responded to that need. We are all called by virtue of our baptism; we’re living the Gospel now through the Synod.”
Among her many accomplishments since landing in South Carolina 17 years ago, Zedek is most proud of the educational progress she was part of in the Upstate. The deanery now has annual retreats for catechists, a process for training and certifying religion teachers and a coordinated process for catechesis. Famous speakers come to the area every year to address the religious and laity who will lead the education of the faithful there.
Zedek also drove a successful stewardship campaign at Prince of Peace. Her account of the effort was published in the January 1998 issue of the national magazine for parish leadership, Today’s Parish.
She said she was blessed by serving with visionaries for much of her time in the large Upstate parish, two of them most recently.
“Sister Margie (Hosch) and Father Chet (Moczydlowski) are both dynamic leaders and I’ve learned a lot from them. Their vision of Church is broader than most and they moved the parish in different ways,” she said.
Zedek is married to John Zedek, an engineering vice-president for Fluor Daniel. A company transfer brought the Zedek family to South Carolina in 1981 and is now taking the parents to Medford, N.J. Sue Zedek has interviewed twice at St. Mary of the Lakes, a parish of 4,000 families about equidistant from the coast and from Philadelphia. Since her three grown children now live in Virginia, California and Clemson, they won’t be affected by the transfer, except emotionally.
“Their roots are here, so by leaving we prevent them from coming home to their roots,” she said.
Sue Zedek was talking about her children, but she may as well have been referring to herself. She admits that the Feb. 26 move will be traumatic for her, too: “I’ll miss this whole parish. They have become my surrogate family.”
The mammoth and steady growth of the Diocese of Charleston will stutter late this month when it loses one of its most respected leaders.