Deacon Rick Tucek built a 30-year career in business before his ordination six years ago. Today he uses his experience in finance and faith to serve the people of Saint Bede Parish in Pittsburgh.
One of three deacon administrators working in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Deacon Tucek assists Father Edward Bryce, the longtime former pastor of Saint Bede, by providing day-to-day oversight of parish operations along with service at the altar, including preaching.
“We communicate well with one another and he very much wants to work with me to make this successful,” said Deacon Tucek, who began his assignment in late 2015 after previously serving as business manager. “I run things by Father Bryce and get his advice.”
Born and raised in the North Hills, Deacon Tucek earned a degree in business administration from Robert Morris University, majoring in accounting. He became a certified public accountant, working for U.S. Steel Corp. before opening his own practice. Later he served parishes as a deacon and business manager.
In 2015, Bishop David Zubik announced the appointment of deacon administrators in an effort to find new ways to provide vibrant Catholic ministry with fewer priests available.
“While we all need to pray for and encourage priestly vocations,” Bishop Zubik said at the time, “this is one new way of being The Church Alive! in southwestern Pennsylvania.”
Two other deacon administrator models are in place in the far northern and southern regions of the diocese. In Lawrence County, Deacon John Carran leads Saint James the Apostle and Christ the King parishes, where there is no longer a resident priest. Four priests from the New Castle area take turns celebrating Mass, and Deacon Carran serves as deacon administrator.
“It’s been going well,” Deacon Carran said. “We have a good working rapport with the priests and are keeping up with the sacramental needs of the people.”
To the south, five parishes in Greene County are served by two resident priests and Deacon Tom Raymond. The schedule of Masses had to be adjusted when a third priest recently retired, but there are still 10 weekend Masses at eight worship sites that make up the five parishes.
“Many of our parishioners understand the need to pull together,” Deacon Raymond said, “and the priests appreciate that I’ve been able to take care of the daily operations and manage the buildings.”
The deacon administrators’ areas of responsibility include liturgical life, catechesis, social ministry, pastoral care, finances, contracts, personnel, facilities, and matters of civil and canon law.
At Saint Bede, Father Bryce has been able to focus on parishioners’ sacramental and pastoral needs, and still writes petitions for Mass and articles for the parish bulletin.
“Deacon Tucek has relieved me of a few burdens,” Father Bryce said. “It’s going fine.”
The parish in Pittsburgh’s Point Breeze neighborhood was founded in 1922, with a school built a few years later. Deacon Tucek serves as administrator of the school, overseeing the principal as well as operations.
“I am honored and humbled to be your deacon administrator,” Deacon Tucek wrote to parishioners when he was assigned. “I appreciate the trust that Bishop Zubik has placed in me to do this job.”