Beloved priest dies in parish center

BALTIMORE (WMAR) - A well-known, longtime Baltimore pastor died suddenly at St. Gregory the Great on Saturday at age 70.

Monsignor Damien Nalepa, was the pastor of the church for 30 years and a prominent figure off inner-city ministry, social justice and non-violence.

The Catholic Review says Monsignor Nalepa was the driving force behind his parish's many outreach efforts including a soup kitchen program for addicts and an "Adopt-a- Family" program that partnered with suburban parishes to provide holiday food to thousands of people each year.

The soft-spoken priest was also a strong advocate for a gun-buyback program sponsored by the Catholic Review and often participated in peace vigils to combat violence in the city.

A viewing for Monsignor Nalepa will take place Aug. 9 at March Funeral Home, 4300 Wabash Ave., 21215, from 4 to 8 p.m. On Aug. 10, Monsignor Nalepa's body will lie in rest at St. Gregory the Great from 2 to 8 p.m., with a wake service, prayers and remembrances from 6 to 8 p.m. On Aug. 11, his body will be at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary for viewing between  9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The funeral Mass will be offered at 11 a.m.

Monsignor Nalepa is survived by his brothers, Passionist Father Richard Nalepa and Kenneth Nalepa, and his sister, Nancy Herring.

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