Father Edward Bryce, Pastor
Father Edward Bryce and St. Bede Parish are a union so comfortable, so seamless, it’s hard to imagine the one without the other. But to the tall, gentle priest with the deep resonate voice, it’s even harder to believe that more than 21 years have passed here.
“Time has gone so quickly, but it’s been an amazing experience,” he said on a recent afternoon in the rectory parlor. “I’ve witnessed a whole generation. Little kids who I’ve baptized have become big kids. Now, they bring their kids around to be baptized.”
In truth, St. Bede has only been the latest stop in a priesthood that now celebrates 50 years. Father’s entire life has been a testament to an enduring faith — a faith that took hold of him as altar boy at St. Bernard in Mt. Lebanon and sustained him as a seminarian at St. Charles in Philadelphia. In his characteristic humor, Father Bryce looks back to that time now as a stint in “a minimum security prison,” where they told him when to eat and when to sleep.
“If you didn’t think God wanted you to do this, you’d be crazy to stay,” he says.
But stay he did, and on March 25th, 1960, Father Bryce was ordained as a priest on the altar of St. Paul Cathedral in his native Pittsburgh. “Seems like yesterday. Except when I look at my ordination picture. I notice I was considerably thinner.”
Many at St. Bede may not know it, but Father Bryce’s career took him far and wide. After his initial assignment at Immaculate Conception in Washington, PA., he studied theology during the times of change and Vatican II. In 1965, he returned to the Pittsburgh area and served in various capacities, eventually teaching theology at Duquesne University, where he would impart his wisdom and knowledge to more than 2,300 students.
Teaching was fulfilling, but the diocese had other plans. There was a Holy Rosary Parish in Homewood in the turbulent late 60s and then an assignment in the diocesan office of Justice and Peace. His command of social issues would take him to Washington, D.C. and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. There, he would run the Office of Pro-Life Activities, a cause for which he remains passionate.
Looking back now, Father Bryce sees all of that worldly experience as preparation for his time at St. Bede. It is here that he has led gently. With children, he has used his patience and humor, prodding them to use their God-given gifts to the fullest. With the adults, he’s treated them as adults. He has shown respect and inclusiveness, allowing them and the Parish Pastoral Council to help guide and contribute.
“We have wonderful people with a variety of talents. Blue collar, white collar, silver collar. Each has a great gift to give,” he says. “I learned a long time ago that if you invite people in — rather than point your finger — the results are much more felicitous.”
At the age of 75, it would be time for most priests to retire, but it seems that St. Bede and Father Bryce will not be so easily parted. “I’m blessed with good health,” he says. “Why would I retire?” Father will stay here as administrator for the foreseeable future, and God willing, he’ll spend many more years in fulfillment of his calling.
“In the end when I come face to face with Jesus, he won’t be concerned about whether I balanced the books or if I managed to pave the rectory driveway. He’ll ask me only this: ‘Have you helped people come to know me?’
I hope to answer, yes.”
Deacon Rick Tucek, Deacon Adminstrator
Born and raised in the North Hills, Deacon Rick grew up attending St. Teresa of Avila Catholic School and North Allegheny High School. After completing a BA in Business Administration with a major in Accounting at Robert Morris University, he passed the CPA exam and built a 30-year career in finance, starting out with US Steel (B&LE Railroad) and then working as a CPA ultimately opening and running his own practice for 18 years.
He completed his Deacon formation at St. Paul Seminary and was ordained on June 14, 2011. Following his ordination, he began his service as a part-time Deacon at North American Martyrs Parish in Monroeville while still working full-time as a CPA, eventually leaving his own practice to work as Parish & School Business Manager at St. Louis de Marillac. He accepted the job of Parish & School Business Manager here at St. Bede in the spring of 2014. During this time, he has also been working (part-time) as an ordained Deacon at St. Maurice Parish in Forest Hills assisting with liturgy and pastoral care.
Deacon Rick has been married to his wife Kathy for 36 years. Together they had six children: Ryan (33), Cory (29), Adam (27), Emily (deceased), Sarah (24), and Michelle (23). Ryan, Cory, and Adam are all married and Deacon Rick and Kathy have been blessed with five grandsons, ranging in age from 3 months to 4 years old. Having lost his daughter Emily, born prematurely, in 1990, Deacon Rick and his wife experienced firsthand the powerful consolation of God’s grace in their time of need. Over the ensuing years, Deacon Rick began attending daily Mass. After offering his life to God at a Cursillo retreat, he experienced a powerful call to serve God. He completed five years of deaconate formation and dedicated his life’s work to the glory of God. As an ordained Deacon, he now gladly offers it through service to the people of St. Bede Parish.
Besides practicing and leading people in the Catholic faith, Deacon Rick’s interests are playing with his grandchildren, cheering on Pittsburgh sports teams, watching movies and visiting with friends.
A personal note from Deacon Rick:
“I am honored and humbled to be your Deacon Administrator. I appreciate the trust that Bishop Zubik has placed in me to do this job. I am also honored to be serving with Father Bryce, a gifted and holy man. Deacons are ordained to roles of service and justice in the Pittsburgh diocese. It is a scriptural call:
Acts 6: 1-6 At this time, as the number of the disciples increased, complaints were brought against those who spoke Hebrew by those who spoke Greek; their widows, they said, were neglected in the daily administration of relief. So the twelve called together the general body of the disciples, and said, it is too much that we should have to forgo preaching God’s word, and bestow our care upon tables. Come then, brethren, you must find among you seven men who are well spoken of, full of the Holy Spirit and of wisdom, for us to put in charge of this business, while we devote ourselves to prayer, and to the ministry of preaching. This advice found favor with all the assembly; and they chose Stephen, a man who was full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, who was a proselyte from Antioch. These they presented to the apostles, who laid their hands on them with prayer.
So starting November 30th, my “day job” as Business Manager has been merged with my ministry of service and justice to the people of St. Bede. I am humbly called as your servant. So please feel free to contact me with all your needs, whether they are spiritual or temporal.”