St. Joe High part of new Bishop’s journey

Msgr. Larry Kulick (2nd from right) and former Greensburg Bishop Edward Malesic with
St. Joe students Alexis Shirley and Jake Hayes in 2016.

The four years that the next bishop of the Diocese of Greensburg spent at a Catholic high school in the Diocese of Pittsburgh proved to be important steps in his journey of faith.

“Saint Joseph High School played an instrumental role in forming me,” Bishop-elect Larry Kulick told The Pittsburgh Catholic. “I received a solid education and experienced a healthy, realistic dimension of the faith in all aspects of my high school life at Saint Joe’s.”

Pope Francis on December 18 named Monsignor Kulick as the sixth bishop of the Greensburg diocese. He will be ordained and officially installed on February 11.

Principal Beverly Kaniecki taught mathematics to the future bishop, who graduated from the Natrona Heights high school in 1984.

“You knew he was somebody special, always a planner, and creative, very much like he is today,” she said. “As a senior he brought back the May crowning and convinced a classmate to dress up as the Blessed Mother.

“He also recommended taking our graduation to the Diocese of Greensburg and asking the bishop to be the principal celebrant. He’s not afraid to try new initiatives, and wants to help as many people as he can.”

“Bishop-elect Kulick is an amazing pastor and an outstanding administrator,” said Bishop David Zubik. “I am thrilled for the faithful of the Diocese of Greensburg that Pope Francis has appointed one of their own clergy.”

Born and raised in the small town of Leechburg, Westmoreland County, Bishop-elect Kulick is the oldest of four children whose father was a policeman and later the chief of police. He went to a public elementary school before attending Saint Joseph High School.

The future bishop’s senior yearbook entry.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, he received a master’s degree in systematic theology and master of divinity from Saint Vincent Seminary before being ordained to the priesthood in 1992. In 2012, Bishop-elect Kulick earned a licentiate in canon law from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

He has served as the vicar general of the Diocese of Greensburg since 2012 and was named administrator when Bishop Edward Malesic was appointed as Bishop of Cleveland, Ohio last September. Bishop-elect Kulick also is pastor of Saint James Parish in New Alexandria.

In 2016 he was given the Spirit of Saint Joseph Award by his high school alma mater.

“Monsignor Kulick lives the Saint Joseph High School values of sanctity, justice, honor and scholarship,” principal Kaniecki said in her speech, “And like Saint Joseph, he is a just man, someone we can count on!

“I find it providential that Bishop-elect Kulick graduated from Saint Joseph High School, was pastor of Saint Joseph Parish (in New Kensington), and is now named Bishop in this newly-declared Year of Saint Joseph,” she said.

“I have a great devotion to Saint Joseph,” said Bishop-elect Kulick, “and I am humbled and deeply honored to serve the diocese that’s been my home.”

St. Joe High School Principal Beverly Kaniecki & Msgr. Kulick