NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Br. James John Lakofka, C.S.C., 102, died on Wednesday, November 11, 2020, at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind.
Br. Lakofka was born to Anthony and Rose (Zeleski) Lakofka in Chicago, Ill., on November 16, 1917. The eldest of four children, he was raised in a Polish-Catholic household and attended St. Edward's School. After he graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1936, he went to work at the Johns Manville Corporation, until he was called for the draft during World War II. He served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps and returned to his employer four years later, after the war. While in France, Br. James visited the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, which would influence his later ministry.
While attending night classes at Loyola University in Chicago, he decided to join Holy Cross and entered the Brother’s Postulant Program in North Dartmouth, Mass., in January of 1949. In August of that year, he received the habit at Sacred Heart Novitiate on Miami Road in South Bend, Ind. He made his First Vows on August 16, 1950, and his Final Profession of Vows on the same date in 1953.
Br. James joined the staff of Catholic Boy Magazine in 1950. He served as business manager for that publication as well as Knights of the Altar. In 1969, after the sale of those publications, he began working in the Our Lady of Lourdes Confraternity, where he worked until he was well into his 90s, responding to mail and interested patrons, sending shipments of the Lourdes water around the country, and praying for each intention he received. From 1970 to 1971, he also assisted in the Office of Province Development, and from 1971-1974, he worked in the Personnel Office of the former Indiana Province. Br. James was a model religious, and a welcome fixture at “Table #1” at Moreau Seminary for many years. A lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, he was delighted to witness his favorite team win the World Series in 2016, from Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind., where he resided since 2005.
Preceding him in death are Br. Lakofka’s parents, Anthony and Rose Lakofka, his sister Carol, and his brothers Robert and George.
The Funeral Mass will be at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, November 16, 2020, at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame, Ind., with everyone wearing masks and safely distanced. You may also join us via livestream at https://campusministry.nd.edu/mass-worship/basilica-of-the-sacred-heart/funeral-live-stream/. Burial will be in the community cemetery at Notre Dame. Kaniewski Funeral Home, South Bend, is in charge of the arrangements.
Memorial contributions in support of the mission and ministries of the Congregation of Holy Cross can be made to: United States Province of Priests and Brothers, Office of Development, P.O. Box 765, Notre Dame, IN 46556-0765 or online at donate.holycrossusa.org.
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