Father Matthew Mazzuchelli
Born: LaSalle, Illinois, December 3, 1931
Professed: July 11, 1952
Ordained: June 1, 1958
Died: January 24, 2017
Fr. Matthew (Charles) Mazzuchelli OSB passed away in his room at the abbey, sometime in the early hours of Tuesday, January 24, 2017. He was 85.
He was born in LaSalle, Illinois, on December 3, 1931, to Charles and Mazie (O’Donnell) Mazzuchelli, and in baptism was given the name Charles. He attended St. Patrick’s Grade School and St. Bede Academy, graduating in 1949. After two years in the junior college, he entered the novitiate at St. Bede, taking the name Matthew, and was professed on July 11, 1952. After receiving a BA from St. John’s University, he studied theology there and was ordained a priest June 1, 1958 in the Peoria Cathedral by Bishop Cousins. He taught mathematics and typing for a few years in the academy, but in 1961 was put in charge of maintenance and housekeeping for both abbey and academy, positions he held for decades. His conscientious nature and competence made him well suited for the many demands of caring for such a large plant.
Although he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis shortly after his ordination and had difficulty walking in later years, Fr. Matthew remained as active as he could throughout his life. At the monastery, he always seemed happiest in his basement shop working on various carpentry projects—he sometimes referred to himself as “Muddlin’ Matt”—but his greatest joy was his longstanding weekend mission to St. Lawrence Church in South Wilmington which he began shortly after his ordination and continued until a few years before his death. He became a beloved figure in the parish and at Sacred Heart in nearby Kinsman. His continued contact with parishioners was of great comfort to him when his failing eyesight and difficulty in walking forced him to retire from the active ministry in 2014.
Slender to the point of gauntness, Fr. Matthew did not have much of an appetite except for certain favorite foods such as soup and spaghetti, and if supper didn’t appeal to him he would make himself a bag of microwave popcorn to take back to his room. He rarely drank any beverage but coffee in addition to his single can of beer at haustus and cookouts. He had an abiding love for children’s books, which would often provide insights for his homilies. In spite of his limited mobility and the habitual tardiness it caused, Fr. Matthew was devoted to conventual Mass and Divine Office even when it required genuinely heroic efforts for him to attend.
Among the documents in his personal file was a typed paragraph dated November 23, 1985, which included the following request from our confrere: “Just for the record: at the time of my death, it would please me very much if people were asked to make a small donation for the starving people of the world, especially children, instead of the usual Mass offerings.”
Fr. Matthew was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by a brother, Michael Mazzuchelli of LaSalle.
Abbot Philip will celebrate a funeral Mass on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 10:00 AM with interment in the abbey cemetery to follow.
Abbot Philip and community