KOUDELKA, JOSEPH MARY (8 Dec. 1852-24 June 1921), first auxiliary bishop of Cleveland, was born in Chilstova (Bohemia), Czechoslovakia, to Markus and Anna Jazousshek Koudelka. He began his studies at the Imperial College in Klattan, Bohemia. In 1869, his family immigrated to Wisconsin. Koudelka studied for the priesthood at Mt. Calvary and St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee, in 1874 transferring to St. Mary Seminary in Cleveland. After his ordination as deacon, he became administrator of St. Procop Church in Cleveland. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1875, and became pastor of St. Procop's. Koudelka, in addition to his pastoral duties, published a set of Bohemian readers, a church history, and several prayerbooks. In May 1882, Bp. RICHARD GILMOUR allowed Koudelka to go to St. Louis, Mo., to take charge of Hlas, an influential Bohemian publication. In 1883, Koudelka was called back to Cleveland, taking charge of the German parish of St. Mary which, under Koudelka's direction, became the parish of St. Michael. During his 28-year pastorate, Koudelka established a school and built a Gothic Cathedral-style church, which became a national landmark. Bp. IGNATIUS HORSTMANN, Gilmour's successor, sent Koudelka to Europe to recruit priests and seminarians to work with the East European immigrants. Koudelka was a diocesan consulter from 1904-10. On 25 Feb. 1908 he was consecrated the first auxiliary bishop of Cleveland. In 1911 Koudelka was named auxiliary bishop of Milwaukee; in 1913 he became the second bishop of Superior in Wisconsin. Koudelka is buried in St. Mary Cemetery in Cleveland.

Houck, George F. A History of Catholicity in Northern Ohio ... (1903).

Hynes, Michael J. The History of the Diocese of Cleveland (1953).

Article Categories