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Most Rev. Charles A. Salatka

Deceased: 2003-03-17


Seminary Graduation Year: 1948



The ninth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Marquette and the retired archbishop of Oklahoma City, Archbishop Charles A. Salatka, died on March 17, 2003.

He passed away at Saint Ann Retirement Center in Oklahoma City following a short illness. He had just celebrated his 85th birthday in February.

Archbishop Salatka was born on February 26, 1918, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Charles and Mary Balun Salatka. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Grand Rapids on February 24, 1945, in St. Joseph Seminary Chapel, Grand Rapids, by the late Bishop Francis J. Haas of Grand Rapids.

One of his major presbyteral assignments included serving as an instructor at St. Joseph Seminary, Grand Rapids. After a year on the seminary staff, he went to Lateran College in Rome to study Canon Law, earning his JCL degree in 1948.

He served as pastor of St. Michael Parish in Dennison, Michigan, pastor of St. James Parish in Grand Rapids, and secretary and vice chancellor of the Diocese of Grand Rapids. On March 6, 1962, he was ordained as auxiliary bishop of Grand Rapids and served as vicar general.

In 1968, he was appointed the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Marquette, being installed on March 25, 1968 in St. Peter Cathedral by the late Cardinal John Dearden. While bishop of Marquette, he served as president of the Michigan Catholic Conference from 1970 to 1976.

In 1977 he was elevated to the office of archbishop and was installed as the second archbishop of Oklahoma City on December 15, 1977. After serving the Church and its people faithfully for so many years, he retired in 1992, remaining in Oklahoma City, but visiting his friends in the dioceses of Marquette and Grand Rapids as often as possible.

The current bishop of Marquette, Bishop James Garland, noted that Archbishop Salatka was devoted to the Upper Peninsula. “He visited us frequently over the years after moving to Oklahoma. One of his great joys was to swim in Lake Superior.

“On a more serious note, he began in 1968 the Upper Peninsula Catholic Services Appeal. This removed the need for a tax on parishes to support the diocesan offices and put our diocese in a sound financial situation. We’re all grateful for his service as bishop to the diocese and pray for his eternal rest,” Bishop Garland said.

Archbishop Salatka’s body will lie in state at the Catholic Pastoral Center in Oklahoma City today (Tuesday) and at the Cathedral of Our Lady tomorrow (Wednesday). The wake service will be at the Cathedral of Our Lady on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. CT.

The Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated at the Cathedral of Our Lady in Oklahoma City on Thursday, March 20, at 2:00 p.m. CT. Internment will be in the chapel at Resurrection Cemetery adjacent to the Catholic Pastoral Center in Oklahoma City.