He had been diagnosed with late stage liver cancer shortly before his death.
Monsignor Charnoki, who was ordained to the priesthood May 15, 1965, at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, Greensburg, by the late Bishop William G. Connare, died on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the patroness of the diocese.
In a July interview with The Catholic Accent, Monsignor Charnoki said his connection with the church was natural — two of his uncles were priests.“I’ve enjoyed all of my assignments,” he said. “With God’s grace, I’ve been able to assist in various ways. I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to become a priest and help a lot of people, and I’m grateful that they have helped me.
“I know a lot of people are praying for me, and I’m just going to continue along and do whatever the Lord wishes for me,” Monsignor Charnoki continued. “Over the years, I’ve given advice to many people who are sick or suffering, and I always told them to trust in the Lord. I know now that I have to do the same thing.”
Born Nov. 29, 1937, in Nemacolin, Greene County, he was the son of the late Joseph J. and Mary E. (Ondrish) Charnoki. He briefly attended All Saints School in Masontown and graduated from Cumberland Township High School.
He received a bachelor’s degree from Saint Vincent College, and a Master of Divinity degree from Saint Vincent Seminary, both in Latrobe. He received a licentiate degree in canon law from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
He served the diocese in many capacities, including assistant pastor of St. Mary (Nativity) Parish, Uniontown, and its former mission, St. Cecilia Parish, Lemont Furnace; pastor of the former St. Stanislaus Parish, Calumet; St. Mary Parish, Export; Holy Family Parish, Latrobe; St. Bernard of Clairvaux Parish, Indiana; and Holy Trinity Parish, Ligonier; administrator pro tem of the former St. Louis Church, Lucernemines; and as administrator of the former St. Boniface Parish, Chestnut Ridge.
Monsignor Charnoki was assistant chancellor and diocesan secretary to Bishop Connare; judicial vicar of the Marriage Tribunal; a member of the Priests Council and Board of Consultors; and vicar forane of Deanery 4 in Westmoreland County and Deanery 2 in Indiana and Armstrong counties. He was named a domestic prelate with the title monsignor in 1986 and a protonotary apostolic supernumerary, the highest level of monsignor, in 2005, both by Saint Pope John Paul II.
He was a member of the First Catholic Slovak Union, Branch #181, where he served as chaplain for many years in the George Onda District. He also served as chaplain for the Knights of Columbus, Daniel P. Nolan Council #940, of Latrobe, until his death.
Monsignor Charnoki retired from active ministry in 2013 and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Saint Vincent Seminary that year.
In a 2013 interview, Monsignor Charnoki said that spending time in close service to the late Bishop Connare will remain one of his most memorable experiences.
“One of the most moving times is when I was very close to Bishop Connare, having served twice as his secretary, especially when his health went down and he knew his time was short,” Monsignor Charnoki said. “He had tremendous faith and that made a great impression on me.”
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two brothers, John J. Charnoki and Joseph J. Charnoki, as well as two uncles who were priests, the Rev. Andrew Charnoki and the Rev. John Charnoki, and a cousin, Sister Christine Yurick, VSC, all three of whom were influential in Monsignor Charnoki’s vocation.
Monsignor Charnoki is survived by a brother, Andrew M. Charnoki, and his wife Faye, of Tucson, Ariz; a sister-in-law, Cindy Charnoki, of Phoenix; three nephews, Jeffery Charnoki, Christopher Charnoki and Daniel Charnoki; and two great-nephews, Tyler and Wyatt Charnoki.
Family and friends will be received from 6 to 9 p.m. today and 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday at the John J. Lopatich Funeral Home Inc., 601 Weldon Street, Latrobe.
Members of the Knights of Columbus, Daniel P. Nolan Council #940, will hold a memorial service at 8 p.m. today in the funeral home. A Mass of Translation will be celebrated at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Holy Family Church, 1200 Ligonier St., Latrobe, with the Very Rev. Daniel C. Mahoney, Vicar Forane of Deanery 4, as principal celebrant.
Additional viewing will be held at Holy Family Church, Latrobe, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated Wednesday at noon at Holy Family Church, Latrobe, with the Most Rev. Edward C. Malesic, JCL, Bishop of Greensburg, as principal celebrant and the Most Rev. Lawrence E. Brandt, JCD, Ph.D., Bishop Emeritus of Greensburg, as homilist.
Interment will follow at Greensburg Catholic Cemetery. To sign Monsignor Charnoki’s online guest book, send condolences, or to view detailed obituary information, please visit www.lopatich.com.