Father Dominic F. Mockevicius, a diocesan priest for nearly 65 years, died May 6, 2013, at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse in Pittsford. He was 90 years old.
Father Mockevicius was a native of St. George Church, a Lithuanian parish on the city of Rochester’s northeast side. He attended the parish school, which opened in 1929, and was a member of its first graduating class. He went on to attend St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries. Father Mockevicius was ordained June 4, 1948, by Bishop James E. Kearney at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
His first four priestly assignments were all in Rochester: St. Boniface (1948-50), St. George (1950-56), Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (1956-58) and Holy Family (1958-61).
"When I came to this country (from Lithuania) around 1950, he was a fairly new priest and taught me to be an altar boy," recalled Gene Vidmantas, a longtime St. George parishioner.
Father Mockevicius became administrator of St. Patrick in Cato and St. Thomas the Apostle in Red Creek in early 1961, and later that year served as temporary assistant pastor at St. Alphonsus in Auburn.
He then was assistant pastor at St. Mary in Canandaigua (1961-62) before beginning a 21-year tenure as chaplain at Craig State School, a facility for neurologically impaired people in Sonyea, Livingston County. He also served as president of the state chaplains’ organization during that time.
In 1983 Father Mockevicius returned to parish duty, becoming pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Churchville, where he would remain for the next 11 years. Kathy Kuntz, who served as faith-formation coordinator there under Father Mockevicius and continues in that role today, said the lanky priest was known in the parish as "the gentle giant." She noted that he was particularly sensitive toward the elderly and young children.
"He was gentle, he was loving, he was caring — always," Kuntz remarked.
In 1994 Father Mockevicius returned to his native parish, St. George, serving as coadministrator along with his brother, Father Charles Mockevicius.
Vidmantas’ wife, Jeanne, noted Father Dominic Mockevicius’ outgoing personality.
"He loved celebrations," she said. "He was fun to be with; he always loved to socialize."
Following his brother’s death in 2002, Father Mockevicius continued his involvement at St. George, helping to celebrate the parish’s centennial observance in 2008 and aiding the community’s transition in 2010 to Brighton’s Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. He celebrated the final Mass at St. George Church in June 2010.
The Vidmantises, who remain involved in the Lithuanian community at Our Lady of Lourdes, noted that Father Mockevicius continued celebrating liturgies in Lithuanian until his health no longer allowed him to do so.
Father Mockevicius is survived by his brother, Frank (Nancy); nephews; and grandnieces and grandnephews.
Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark celebrated his funeral Mass May 10, 2013, at Brighton’s Our Lady of Lourdes Church. Interment was at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.