Msgr. Rudolph Daz: 'A priest to the end'

Friday, Jun. 07, 2024
Msgr. Rudolph Daz: 'A priest to the end' + Enlarge
Bishop Oscar A. Solis prays at the casket of Msgr. Rudolph Daz at the May 28 vigil service.
By Marie Mischel
Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY — Monsignor Rudolph Daz, who died May 18 at the age of 96, was recalled during funeral services as a kind man and a faithful priest who left a great legacy. 
Fr. David Bittmenn, who had known Msgr. Daz for many years, spoke at the vigil on May 28 at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. 
“He enjoyed his ministry,” said Fr. Bittmenn, who is pastor of St. George Parish in St. George. “He looked forward to Mass and confessions.”
In addition, Msgr. Daz was a kind man who took care of others, and “in all this, there remained this light, this light that was centered around the Word and the sacraments. Light that entered around the teachings of the Church,” Fr. Bittmenn said.
“He went from assignment to assignment with that quiet dignity, with that conviction that just being the one who was intimately involved with the Mass, just being the one who could hear confession and minister the sacraments, be part of people’s lives, was the best job in the world,” Fr. Bittmenn said, adding that nothing distracted Msgr. Daz from the goal of entering the Father’s house.
At the funeral Mass the next day, also at the cathedral, Bishop Oscar A. Solis called Msgr. Daz “a shepherd who faithfully served the people of God of our local Church in Utah” for 70 years. 
Bishop Solis presided at the Mass; concelebrants included Msgr. Colin F. Bircumshaw, vicar general; Father Martin Diaz, the cathedral rector; Fr. Kenneth Vialpando, the diocesan vicar for clergy; Fr. John Evans, who will become the diocesan vicar general in August;  and numerous other priests of the diocese. Several deacons assisted at the Mass.
In his homily, the bishop said that Msgr. Daz was regarded as a “gentle and holy man, a dedicated pastor and faithful servant of God.” 
In retirement at St. Joseph Villa, Msgr. Daz concelebrated daily Mass and was frequently in the chapel, the bishop said. 
“It is no exaggeration to say that there is a deep path worn in St. Joseph Villa between his room and the small chapel where he, until no longer able to do so, spent so many hours praying for all of us, praying for the world, and praying for the Church,” the bishop said.
“The priestly life and ministry of Msgr. Daz affords us [the opportunity] to reflect on our relationship with God and our calling in life,” the bishop said.
“He leaves us a beautiful lesson, a great legacy: through Jesus, we can know God, through Jesus we were blessed by God, through Jesus we receive new life and rest for our souls,” the bishop said.
Rudolph A. Daz was born in Ogden, Utah on April 17, 1928, the son of Rudolph August Daz, Sr. and Edith Piersanti. He attended Madison and St. Joseph elementary schools, Saint Joseph High School and Ogden High School, graduating in 1944. He attended college at Saint Mary’s, Moraga, California and St. Joseph College, Mt. View, California, and did his theological training at Saint Patrick Seminary, Menlo Park, California. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Joseph L. Federal at Saint Joseph Catholic Church, Ogden, on January 24, 1954 for the Diocese of Salt Lake City. 
The first 10 years of his priestly ministry, from 1954 to 1964, were spent as assistant pastor at the parishes of St. Marguerite in Tooele, Saint Therese of the Child Jesus in Midvale, Saint Ann in Salt Lake City and Holy Rosary in Bingham Canyon – now Immaculate Conception, Copperton. From 1958 to 1977 he served as pastor of Saint Patrick Parish in Eureka, then Saint Patrick Parish in Salt Lake City and then Saint Anthony of Padua Parish in Helper. During his final years as pastor in Helper, he attended the four-month Vatican II Institute in Oakland, California.
Beginning in February 1977, Msgr. Daz served for 10 years as pastor of Saint Joseph the Worker Parish, West Jordan. His final assignment was as pastor of Saint Olaf Parish in Bountiful. During this time, he spent a three-month sabbatical at the Institute for Continuing Theological Education in Rome, Italy. During his time in Bountiful, he also served as dean of the Northern Deanery for three consecutive terms
 He was elevated to Prelate of Honor to his Holiness, with the title of Monsignor, on April 30, 2001, and he retired in 2011. 
Msgr. Daz learned the art of Italian cooking from his mother, who ran an Italian restaurant in Ogden, and he loved to cook for his friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and his three sisters: Gloria Josephine (Daz) Paoli, Vera Angela (Daz) Griffin, and Nancy Catherine (Daz) Payne.

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